Considering Belicia's experiences in the Dominican Republic why does she treat Lola the way she does in The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A first lesson in the fragility of love and the preternatural cowardice of men. And out of this disillusionment and turmoil sprang Beli's first adult oath, one that would follow her into adulthood, to the States and beyond. I will not serve.  Never again would she follow any lead other than her own. Not the rector's, not the nuns', not La Inca's, not her poor dead parents'. Only me, she whispered. Me.

Beli has been conditioned to treat women the way she has been treated: selfishly, possessively, willfully.  She is a victim of the sexism of a patriarchal society that glorifies machismo and treats women as sex objects.  Instead of admitting this, Beli lashes out at Lola, and when the outspoken Lola gives it right back, the two enter into a vortex of spiraling misdirected, unconscious anger.

In the DR, Beli has been beaten, raped, and cursed by love, so why love a headstrong girl who is a combination of her and La Inca?  This is the fuku, passed on to her in the DR by Trujillo and his men.  She passes it along to Lola and Oscar, her children.

Beli is also ashamed of her blackness.  I believe this is the other half of the curse.  She never accepts how much darker she is than other Dominicans.  Trujillo bleached his skin and killed hundreds of thousands of dark-skinned Haitians, so Beli has bought into Trujillo's color code.  This is why she wills her body to develop such large breasts: a kind of superpower she uses to compensate for her racial insecurities.

When Lola develops her own superpower rear-end, the two go to battle.  Beli almost wants Lola to run away, to suffer the way she has suffered.  This is why she sends her to the DR to live with La Inca.

 

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