I need to write an argumentative essay on what Junot Diaz was trying to convey in relation to some aspect of the human experience.Some of the options to write about are: Love, mother daughter...

I need to write an argumentative essay on what Junot Diaz was trying to convey in relation to some aspect of the human experience.

Some of the options to write about are: Love, mother daughter relationships, ethnic identity, effect of male dominance on women, and unleashed dictatorship. I need help with getting started, and developing a thesis. Can anyone help?

Asked on by sbrowne

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

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is full of dualities, of character, place, time, theme, and motif.  For every literary element in one chapter, there is a contrasting element in another.  Diaz performs a balancing act, using the following dualities to write his post-modern coming-of-age immigrant novel:

  • Love vs. Violence
  • Family vs. Alienation
  • Fantasy vs. Brutal realization
  • Wondrous vs. Brief
  • Past vs. Present
  • Middle Earth vs. Third World

In the first half of the novel, Oscar lands on the left side of these dualities.  In America, his comic books, and his fantasy fiction, Oscar is the romantic quester who dreams of only one goal: love.  But, when he is touched by his family's curse (the fuku, Trujillo, and the machismo sexist culture of the D.R.), Oscar changes to become a kind of tragic martyr who dies for both sides of the chart: fantasy AND reality, love AND violence.  Although Oscar cannot achieve his dreams, his death allows Junior vicariously to achieve them, a kind of antidote to the fuku.

A good quote to begin your paper is found at the beginning of Chapter 5:

“Men are not indispensable. But Trujillo is irreplaceable. For Trujillo is not a man. His is…a cosmic force…Those who try to compare him to his ordinary contemporaries are mistaken. He belongs to…the category of those born to a special destiny.”

Use this quote as a teaser or from which to glean some ideas.  Good luck...

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