The Curse of Oscar Wao
Have you ever felt cursed in your life-like anything you do or say causes bad luck? Well, this is Oscar de León. He is the protagonist in the novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. Oscar de León is a Dominican-American man who grew up in Paterson New Jersey and is the son of Beli, the brother of Lola, and the most cursed one out of all his family members. Oscar is a kind-hearted and intelligent man, but no one wants to talk or be friends with him. Reason being, the curse of the fuku that has been inherited by his family from his grandparents, has negatively impacted his social life as well as, his overall lifestyle as a young man. Many believe that the fuku is the protagonist throughout the novel, but it is clear that Oscar represents the protagonist because he is characterized as defying society’s expectations of a Dominican man as a result of his unexciting lifestyle and his unmanly characteristics.
To begin with, Oscar is discriminated against because of his uninteresting life. Most people strongly believe that Oscar is not good enough to interact with them because of his nerdiness. In chapter one, the author reveals that “[Oscar] wore his nerdiness like a Jedi wore his light saber or a Lensman her lens. Couldn’t have passed for Normal if he’d wanted to” (Díaz, 2008, p.21). It is clear that people shy away from hanging out with Oscar because they would be embarrassed base on the fact he’s dressed like a Star Wars character. Similarly, Oscar has been considered an outcast because of his weight. In chapter one Yunior makes it clear that “Sophomore year Oscar found himself weighing a whopping 245 lbs.. and it had become clear to everybody, especially his family, that he would become the neighborhood parigüayo” (Díaz, 2008, p.19). Without any doubt, Oscar’s physical appearance allowed people to make many assumptions about his identity; which lead to him being depressed very often throughout his life. Furthermore, it is very inhumane to constantly judge a person based on their looks instead of getting to know who they really are. All in all, Oscar’s life represents the inequality and discrimination that happens in today’s society.
Second of all, Oscar is not perceived as the typical Dominican man because of his lack of masculinity. During his high school career, it is clear to many that Oscar had little to no experience with dating girls because of his nerd like character and obesity. In chapter one, Lola revealed to Oscar that he would stay a virgin if he doesn’t change. Undoubtedly, it is unusual for a Dominican man to remain a virgin at Oscar’s age because of their flirtatious and charming personality. However, Oscar is the complete opposite and as a result, he was teased because he did not fit the stereotype of a normal Dominican man and no one seemed to love him for who he really is. Additionally, Yunior reveals in the first chapter that Oscar’s physical appearance and personality deprives him of having girls like many other Dominican men. Yunior reveals that Oscar “Had none of the High Powers of your typical Dominican male, couldn’t have pulled a girl if his life depended on it” (Díaz, 2008, p.19-20,). Clearly, Oscar is not capable of living up to the expectations of a Dominican man and as a result, he will never be accepted for who he really is. Instead, he is perplexed by the fact that he defies the stereotype of Dominican men. Overall, Oscar’s true identity reveals to the readers that despite being true to who you are it is not guaranteed that the person will be accepted by others; especially if they defy the stereotype that they are labeled under.
On the contrary, the fuku has always played a major role in being the true protagonist based on the fact that it has always been there from the start to the end. According to Yunior the narrator of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao the whole story itself the fuku has cursed the De Leon and Cabral families throughout the novel. In this case, the fuku is the villain and the families are the heroes. One major section of the novel shows how much of an impact the fuku has on Oscar’s mom Beli. Beli was the third daughter in her family. Her mother died when she was only a few months old and her father was never seen by her. Her sisters disappeared and she was left alone. No one in her father family wanted her because she was really darken and she was born bakini- underweight for a baby and ever sickly. (Díaz, 2008, pg 251-252). Even though many would believe that the fuku is the protagonist, it is clear that Oscar is the true representation of a protagonist because he is continuously judged because of his unexciting lifestyle and his lack in masculinity.
In conclusion, Oscar’s life has been the center of attention throughout the novel. The discrimination he faces because of his unexciting lifestyle and his unmanliness results in him being the protagonist. In fact, the fuku had already set the fate of the families throughout most of the novel, but Oscar’s life taught many life lessons which highlight the fact that he is the true protagonist. In sum, everyone faces challenges but being true to who you are despite the odds that are against you; shapes you into the great person you are destined to be.
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