The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Díaz
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How does the hypermaleness affect Oscar? What are the problems of hypermaleness?

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Junot Diaz's novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao shows the problems of the Dominican male's machismo toward women, as exemplified by the fuku, or the curse that Trujillo and his cruelty and hyper-sexuality spreads.  The problems are many: broken relationships and families (the De Leons); women running away (Lola); deadbeat dads and bastard children; unwanted pregnancies (Beli's); fleeing from home and country; physical and psychological abuse (Beli); depression and disorders (Oscar's eating).

The novel is, among other things, a COMING OF AGE QUEST.  At first Oscar falls prey to the machismo quest of the Latino male: women.  As a young "player," Oscar has two girlfriends, no doubt following the lead of the Dominican stereotypical male's advice.  But when he is first rejected by a woman, we find Oscar sensitive to the experience.  He escapes rejection through food and fantasy (comics) and gets orca fat.

So, his quest shifts as a teenager away from the external goal of women to inward goals of being a writer.  Later, when he enrolls at Rutgers, when he feels the fuku curse catching up with him, he resumes his quest to lose his virginity.

He asks Yunior:

I have heard from a reliable source that no Dominican male has ever died a virgin. You who have experience in these matters--do you think this is true?

Ironically, his quest takes him to his roots, to the DR, close to the curse, where the paragon of male virility, Trujillo, practiced it against his mother and grandfather.  There, he loses his virginity to a prostitute and may have even found love and acceptance before he died.  This seems a contradiction to Yunior, the macho narrator, who at first cannot reconcile the opposites.

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