I need to perform an analysis of this passage-what are some literary devices and terms I should focus on in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?The words coming out like they belonged to someone...

I need to perform an analysis of this passage-what are some literary devices and terms I should focus on in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao?

The words coming out like they belonged to someone else, his Spanish good for once. He told them that what they were doing was wrong, that they were going to take a great love out of the world. Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things, and if anybody knew this to be true it was him. He told them about Ybón and the way he loved her and how much they had risked and that they’d started to dream the same dreams and say the same words. He told them that it was only because of her love that he’d been able to do the thing that he had done, the thing they could no longer stop, told them if they killed him they would probably feel nothing and their children would probably feel nothing either, not until they were old and weak or about to be struck by a car and then they would sense him waiting for them on the other side and over there he wouldn’t be no fatboy or dork or kid no girl ever loved; over there he’d be a hero, an avenger. Because anything you can dream (he put his hand up) you can be.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Regarding this passage from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz, there are some important literary devices of which to make note.

The first line makes use of inference, which is when you "read between the lines," or find meaning by using evidence or reasoning, rather than coming to a conclusion "explicitly" stated. This passage says that the words being spoken do not seem to be the kind this person is generally known for. The inference is that this person is somehow surprisingly able to use language in a way far superior to the manner in which he/she usually does. That there is a positive association is seen with "good for once." The passage is:

The words coming out like they belonged to someone else, his Spanish good for once.

Next, there is metonymy, which is defined as:

...a figure of speech in which an attribute of a thing or something closely related to it is substituted for the thing itself.

This literary device is sometimes difficult to understand. It is when some aspect of a thing is used to describe the thing itself. I.e., looking at brownies, someone says, "I could eat the whole plate;" it means one could eat all of the brownies, NOT the plate.

We see the use of metonymy in:

...they were going to take a great love out of the world.

Here the speaker means that "they" would remove a person of great love from the world, but he refers to that person as love itself.

Another device we find is paradox. In the following sentence, there seems to be a contradiction when first reading it. The quote is:

Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things...

The paradox exists because if love is a rare thing (not found everyday), how can it be confused with a million other things? However, a paradox is a statement that seemingly contradicts itself, but is not something that never make sense. It means that with study, and/or perhaps within the context of the story, it takes on a new meaning. In this case, I take it to mean that love is rare, and perhaps many people mistake other things with love, like thinking love can come from someone with money, or good looks or a sense of humor. While all of these things might be aspects of some person that is loved, the speaker would argue that they are not that of which love is made.

We note the presence of conflict: man vs society, it seems. The quoted passage is:

He told them that it was only because of her love that he’d been able to do the thing that he had done, the thing they could no longer stop...

The speaker talks of his love, and mentions that "they" can no longer stop whatever it is that he has done, as they might want to.

There is also a theme present, which is an important message the author of the writing is trying to get across through his/her writing. It is defined as:

...the unifying subject or idea of a story

That theme speaks of how anyone can make his or her dreams come true.

Because anything you can dream (he put his hand up) you can be.

Finally, the tone of this passage, how the author feels about his subject, seems to reflect triumph in the face of tragedy. It sounds as if the subject of the passage is to be killed. "He" says people are making a bad decision, but there will be retribution.

...if they killed him they would probably feel nothing [or] their children...not until they were old and weak...and then they would sense him waiting for them on the other side and over...over there he’d be a hero, an avenger...

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