Are there times that Oscar experiences being nobody and other times where he encapsulate the experience of a nation?this is from the poem by wolcatt at the beginning of the novel.  Do you think...

Are there times that Oscar experiences being nobody and other times where he encapsulate the experience of a nation?

this is from the poem by wolcatt at the beginning of the novel.  Do you think that he gains a sense of self in the face of social or historical forces that deny or overlook his identity?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the implicit answer for both is that they may have grown up thinking they were "a nobody," but once they accept who they are, they become "a nation."

Walcott, or Shabine (the speaker in the poem, "The Schooner Flight") is both white and black, and he accepts his dual heritage.  Walcott says that assimilation is the key to cultural identity.  He loves his native Afro-Caribbean heritage, that it is borne by the sea, and he loves his Anglo-European heritage, particularly the English language.

Oscar too loves his dual nature.  Even though he is not bi-racial, he is a Dominican nerd--two extremes.  He has grown up thinking he will never find love, that he is unworthy of it because of his size and nerdiness, that he will forever be trapped in the "friend vortex" with girls.  But once he sees love as an emotional, non-physical force, the love of an ex-prostitute in the DR no less, he starts to see himself as the embodiment of love itself.  He tries to dissuade his murderers from killing him, not for selfish reasons, but from the perspective of love; he says that, by killing him, they will be killing all the love in the world.

Oscar sees himself as the embodiment of a nation of love: his mother's, his sister's, his grandfather's.  He symbolizes their love to be free from Trujillo, their love to escape the DR, their love of the DR, their love of America, their love of their black skin, their love of brown skin, their love of white skin, their love of Spanish, their love of English, their love of sci-fi, of fantasy, of books.

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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