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Books

The Relation Between Yunior And Oscar In The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao By Junot Diaz

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

In Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” the two characters Yunior and Oscar go through similar challenges as they mature and grow older. As they grow older the novel expresses the achievement of maturation through certain events that unfold throughout the novel. I believe that it was Yunior that was able to gain wisdom and mold the story about the lesson he learns through Oscar’s death at the end of the story. Yunior matures by the end of this novel, the factors that contribute to his maturation is his problem with him being able to maintain his relationships that he has with women, and the fact that sometimes he struggles being a masculine man, but often finds himself like really nerdy things. Yunior gains the wisdom to the degree that it forces him to change the way that he was living for the better, at the end of the book Oscar has a change of heart which allows him to get rid of bad habits. In Yunior’s case, the meaning of Oscar’s story to him turned into more of a wakeup call, in a way Oscar’s life is Yunior’s bildungsroman. Oscar’s story allowed Yunior to see where he was going wrong in his life, and then make changes so he could follow a more wholesome path.

In this novel, Diaz describes most Dominican men as being obsessed with the thought of having sex and being promiscuous. When sex becomes an obsession in this novel, it becomes one of the things that forms into a bad habit for Yunior. I also find out that it’s also a huge obsession within Dominican culture, I realized this when Lola said “One thing you can count on in Santo Domingo. Not the lights, not the law. Sex.” In this novel, Yunior falls into that stereotype of being obsessed with sex. Yunior often discusses his love life with Oscar, reminding Oscar that he isn’t having any sex. To Yunior it seems that he thinks that relationships are mainly about sex. This is why at the beginning of the novel Yunior struggles with remaining faithful to Lola saying, “I knew something was wrong when he stopped writing — Oscar never stopped writing — loved writing the way I loved cheating” (Diaz 187). Yunior’s obsession with having sex with women gets him into trouble though. When he cheats on Lola he ruins his chances of staying with her, even though Yunior spent a lot of time chasing her, just like other Dominican men in this novel, Yunior also views women more as objects to have sex with rather than as a human being with feelings. Throughout the novel as Yunior makes descriptions of women’s bodies he makes it clear that he only cares about their bodies. For example as he describes what Maritza Chacon looks like he describes her as “a ghetto Mary Jane, hair as black and lush as a thunderhead, probably the only Peruvian girl on the planet with pelo curlier than his sister’s (he hadn’t heard of Afro-Peruvians yet, or of a town called Chincha), body fine enough to make old men forget their infirmities”. At the beginning of the novel, Yunior is very objectified towards women, as Yunior sees meets women he can only view them as objects for sex.

Yunior is a character that is a High Self-monitor, he’s concerned with social appropriateness, he’s attentive to others’ behavior to guide his own, and he’s able to control his expressions and self-presentation. He loves the idea of everyone viewing him as an alpha male, a jock, but in actuality, he’s pretty nerdy, and has a lot of knowledge about genres that people would consider to be nerdy. Yunior struggles with masculinity issues is when he’s describing Oscar’s character early in the novel saying that “Oscar had always been a young nerd — the kind of kid who read Tom Swift, who loved comic books and watched Ultraman — but by high school, his commitment to the Genres had become absolute.” Here Yunior is Criticizing Oscar, calling him a “nerd” because of how Oscar has a love for a certain genre of books. The type of books that fall under the same categories as comic books, Japanese anime, sci-fi, and fantasy novels. Even though Yunior claims to not like these genres throughout the novel I found multiple examples of Yunior making references to those genres. One example is when Yunior is talking about Trujillo’s dissertation, then he begins to rant about sci-fi comics saying “What is it with Dictators and Writers, anyway? Since before the infamous Caesar-Ovid war they’ve had beef Like the Fantastic Four and Galactus, like the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, like the Teen Titans and Death- stroke, Foreman and Ah, Morrison and Crouch, Sammy and Sergio, they seemed destined to be eternally in the Halls of Battle”. Or when Yunior says ”You really want to know what being an X-Man feels like? Just be a smart book- ish boy of color in a contemporary U.S. ghetto. Mamma mia! Like having bat wings or a pair of tentacles growing out of your chest.” In the beginning, Yunior does not accept it but he has a lot of knowledge about this genre of literature that he considered being nerdy.

Yunior’s maturation starts to show at the end of this novel, ones he starts to get rid of his bad habits and his immature views of the world. You start to see him change once he stops viewing women as objects, and when he throws his ego aside and stops worrying about how people view him and dissolve his masculinity issues. It wasn’t until ten years after Oscar’s death Yunior realized that he needed a change. This became clear when Yunior says “Sometimes, though, I look up at him and he has no face and I wake up screaming. it took ten years to the day, went through more lousy shit than you could imagine, was lost for a good long while — no Lola, no no nothing — until finally I woke up next to somebody didn’t give two shits about, my upper lip covered in coke-snot and coke-blood and I said, OK, Wao, OK. You win.” It’s at this point in Yunior’s life where Oscar starts to haunt Yunior in his dreams whenever he goes on a binge of his bad habits, such as him being unchaste with random women that he doesn’t know or care about. It was Oscar haunting him that made him change his ways. Once he does change his ways, he gets rid of his bad habits such as doing drugs and sleeping with random women he seems happier and grateful for Oscar’s life saying “I don’t run around after girls anymore. Not much, anyway. When I’m not teaching or coaching baseball or going to the gym or hanging out with the wifey I’m at home, writing. These days I write a lot. From can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night. Learned that from Oscar. I’m a new man, you see, a new man, a new man”. At this part of the novel Yunior has settled down and seems to be much happier with the fact that he’s faithful and living life with a much more positive attitude.

To conclude this essay, I believe that it was Yunior was able to gain wisdom through Oscar’s life at the end of the story. Yunior matured at the end of this novel, changes his ways, getting rid of old habits, and change his life for the better. Once he learned how to remain faithful and not to objectify women, he was able to settle down and get married and once he learned how to deal with his masculinity issues. He found a new level of respect for himself. Yunior gained the wisdom to the degree that it made him change his life around so that he could live happier. At the end of the book when Yunior has his change of ways it allows him to become a new man. Oscar’s story to Yunior impacted him to spin his life around in a good way. Oscar’s story allowed Yunior to see where his mistakes were leading him and then gave him time to realize that he could make changes so he could follow a better path.

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