How does the idea of memory play out within the first five chapters of the novel Drown by Junot Diaz?Please give examples to support the idea .

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kittydrama68 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The concept of memory in the novel Drown, is important to the introduction of the main character, Yunior.  It pieces together his reasoning as an adult, it justifies his bad behaviors and horrible judgement as an adolescent, and later on it teaches him what kind of man he has become in self-reflection. 

The absence of the main character's father was such a defining factor in the way he viewed relationships and the way he prioritized his adult life. The moments in his childhood that were described were pieces of his father that he remembered, but also explained why he operated in the manner he did. His on-and-off relationship with Aurora, and later, Loretta, illustrated his "user" mentality toward women his lack of empathy toward people was actually a learned behavior modeled by his father.

The chapter "Fiesta, 1980", where Junior was forced to forgo the wonderful array of food at the party, rather than throw-up in the new VW, was so important because at that young age he was learning that possessions were more important than people, thus contributing to Yunior's life of stealing and vandalism.

Finally, these specific moments Diaz chose to describe shows the breakdown of his relationship with his mother. He worships his mother as a young child, would die protecting her, and even dreams along with her as she never loses hope. However, after Diaz throws the explanation of the father into the last chapter, giving the reader a little insight into the mystery of the father's other life, we begin to understand his frustration. Nevertheless, his father's drifting has taught him that men are that way, and he is doomed as this man's son.  Childhood has in fact, shaped his personality. 

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Drown

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