The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

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Characterize the portraits of women in the novel? What do we learn from the way women are portrayed? What is left out, what is emphasized?

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Vivianne Deckow eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are three important women in the novel: La Inca, Beli, and Lola.  Each are strong women who battle each other, men, the fuku, their past, their color, and--most importantly--stereotypes (or archetypes).  Each one is associated with an archetypal attribute and geographical location: La Inca (the DR); Beli (the DR & US); and Lola (the US).  All are foils of each other and, most importantly, Oscar.  With each woman that we meet (and we meet them in reverse chronological order), we think each one is the originator of the fuku.  Each one, then, is a kind of red herring or scapegoat.

The key chapters are 2 & 3: "Wildwood" as narrated by Lola (1982-1985) and "The Three Heartbreaks of Belicia Cabral" about, not narrated by Hypatia "Belicia" Cabral (1955-1962).  Notice that only Lola has a narration.  We must assume that since Yunior, the primary/outside narrator, dated Lola, he has imbedded her narration within the novel as a primary source.  He has no such relationship with Beli,...

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