The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Díaz

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How do Oscar's fellow college students feel about him in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?

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Oscar arrives at college full of hope that he will be able to leave his awkward high school years behind and finally find a place of acceptance. He anticipates that in a new place where he is "free of everything," he will find "someone like him[self]."

Like his mother, Oscar his very dark skin, and this creates ongoing conflict for him which he hadn't anticipated. White kids see his dark skin and react with an over-the-top cheeriness, implying that they instinctively try to subdue any threat he might present. Black kids insist that he cannot be Dominican, shaking their heads at his speech and mannerisms. Thus, Oscar faces the same sense of alienation that has plagued him for years and finds that "not a single girl" bothers to even look his way. He attends college parties where drunk white boys threaten him and then listens passively to his sister's advice on how he might integrate himself socially.

Overall, Oscar meets a bleak wall of rejection among his college peers, which fuels his feelings of hopelessness.

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