What is a good argument that could be used in an essay to describe the impact of fuku and what Junot Diaz is saying about it in this novel?

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

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In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the Watcher (the older Yunior) first mentions the fuku in the footnotes.  This curse is linked to the rotten luck of Oscar's family, Trujillo, and even the Kennedy clan.   He says it starts with Columbus, when he brought syphilis to the New World.  Ironically, a Scientific American article (January 15, 2008) “Did Columbus Bring Syphilis to Europe?” confirms that he might have.

After reading the novel, the fuku becomes a leitmotif that could be any of the following:

  • a curse
  • fate
  • sexism
  • Trujillo
  • machismo
  • venereal disease
  • the "f#*k you"

Diaz arranges the novel in reverse chronological order to show how the curse has affected the DeLeons: first with Lola, then Beli, and on to Abelard Cabral’s decision to hide his wife and daughter in Chapter 5.

Finally, Oscar's quest for love is materialized when he makes the redemptive sacrifice of tracing the fuku back to its source, in the DR, and--with his death--ends it.