Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Essay

Pages: 5 (1730 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology

¶ … Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Sometimes there are those novels in the world of literature that will challenge how everyone is viewing a host of: different events and their underlying meanings. In the narrative The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, it discusses how the events of the past can have an impact on the lives of many different individuals. As, the novel is looking at what is happening from: a historical and contemporary perspective through the life of Oscar Wao. He is a Dominican that grew up in New Jersey, who is fascinated by science fiction and creative writing. These two different passions would shape who he would become and it underscores the various tensions that Oscar is going through. (Diaz, 2007) This is significant, because it is showing how the author (Juniot Diaz) is using symbolism to instill a greater appreciation for: the different cultural, physical and emotional challenges that Oscar is going through. To fully understand how this used throughout the novel requires: looking at the different ways that symbolism is utilized and its underlying meanings. Once this takes place, it will provide the greatest insights as to how symbolism is used to influence the reader and set the tone of the novel.

The Use of Symbolism

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The way that symbolism is employed throughout the novel is to give the reader a greater understanding of: the emotional challenges that Oscar and the different characters are going through. Once this occurs, it helps to improve the overall amounts of emotional intensity that many people will have towards these individual. At which point, the reader will be able to experience the same emotions and feelings about these events (even though they are not there). To achieve this objective there are several different ways that symbolism is utilized the most notable include: through science fiction and writing. This helps Oscar to escape from reality.

The Use of Science Fiction and how it Helps Oscar to Escape

Essay on Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Sometimes There Assignment

Oscar is the main characters of the novel, as he is representation of all the frustrations that everyone is feeling. What is happening is he is considered to be an overweight nerd, who is from the Dominican Republic (but grew up in New Jersey). This causes him to be seen as an outsider, based on the fact that he is from another country and is overweight. Throughout his childhood these two elements and his passion for science fiction makes him somewhat of an outcast. Where, Oscar is not considered to be athletic or cool, which will have an impact upon his personality and who he will turns into. This forces him to become more withdrawn by: focusing on select groups of friends (who share similar interests) and finding the kind of love that will address the emotional issues from his past. (Diaz)

Throughout the novel, this will set the tone and help to illustrate the kinds of challenges that Oscar will face throughout his life. As, he is struggling to: be accepted and find his true love. These two passions blind him to the point that it puts his life in jeopardy. This is because he wants to achieve these two goals to have a fulfilled existence. The problem is that this has caused him to take action that allowed him to indirectly accomplish them. Where, his is able to live these objectives in a roundabout fashion, yet he never realizes his ultimate goals. (Diaz)

The use of science fiction and writing are highlighting how Oscar would often utilize this as a way to be able to escape from the challenges he is facing in life. This is because, this would help him to express his feelings in a way that he was unable to so ordinarily. Over the course of time, this allowed him to be able to cope with being a social outcast. (Diaz)

A good example of this can be seen by looking no further than chapter one of the novel. This establishes the basic foundation of Oscar's life from 1974 to 1987. As, he is considered to be: a social outcast in high school and has very few friends. Once they begin finding girlfriends and are living their own lives is when he would become more withdrawn (by focusing on his writing). This is problematic, because it meant that Oscar was using this as an escape from his troubles. Once this began to occur, it would only be matter of time until he would feel some kind of disconnect between: the real world and the one that he lived in. At which point, Oscar would easily fall in love with various women and they would reject him. He then proceeded to win their love back through: his writings and the ideas that he developed from these beliefs. Evidence of this can be seen with Oscar saying, "What more sci-fi than Santo Domingo? What more fantasy than the Antilles?" (Diaz 6) This is important, because it is highlighting the overall sense of disconnect that Oscar is having with the real world. As, he believes that his actions are morally correct, based upon the self-defense mechanisms he established when he was younger. This is the point that he would continually have illusions about what a particular event meant and the way he should be reacting to them. (Diaz)

Further evidence of this can be seen in chapter seven when Oscar returns to the Dominican Republic to win over Ybon (a prostitute that he has fallen in love with). During the course of 27 days he writes her numerous love letters and begins to express his feelings to her consistently. This is despite the fact that he is severely beaten and does not listen to his family or friends. At which point, the same people who targeted Oscar previously pay him another visit. This time they take him out into a sugar cane field and he tells them that if they killed him, he will live a fulfilled life. With him saying, "I am a hero, an avenger. Because anything you can dream, you can be." (Diaz 322) These two elements would help to make Oscar large than life after his death (from his own point-of-view). However, once he dies everyone moves on and only a few people think about or miss him. This is significant, because it is illustrating how Oscar's desire to blindly follow his passions is what would eventually cause him to lose his life. As they would affect his judgment to the point that he began to make poor decisions. Once this occurred, it meant that many of the issues from his past continued to haunt him (based upon these beliefs). This would shape who he would become and his ultimate destiny. (Diaz)


Yunior is Oscar's college friend from Rutgers, he is the narrator of the story and in many ways is the voice of reason. The relationship that he has with him is complicated, where he believes the typical stereo types about various ethnic groups. In this case, he was surprised to see that Oscar was not this macho Dominican. Instead, he was deeply interested in science fiction. At the same time, Oscar was focused on writing about fantasy types of genres. While Yunior is interested in writing as well, yet his focus is on: current events and political stories. (Diaz)

As the two friends go through life, the differences between them become even more severe. Evidence of this can be seen with how the two would interact romantically with women. In the case of Yunior, he had no trouble meeting women and was often considered to be a womanizer. While, Oscar went from one failed romantic relationship to the next, with every woman showing him the same kind of cruelty and shallowness that he experienced all his life. This is significant because, it is illustrating how Diaz is using Yunior to highlight two different worlds. (Diaz)

One is based upon fantasy and disappointment, with Oscar using his science fiction writing as an escape from reality. This is designed to hide the sadness and feelings of rejection that he has received from anyone close to him. At first, this was from his mother and later it became different women that he would have romantic relationships with. In this world, Diaz is illustrating how Oscar is escaping from reality through: the use of his science fiction writing. (Diaz)

Yunior is utilized to illustrate a second reality that is occurring in the novel. This is based upon actual events and how someone is reacting to real world situations. Evidence of this can be seen with the fact that he is interested in writing about topics that are based on current events. His different romantic relationships with numerous women, is very nurturing for him (which helps to provide Yunior with a foundation of stability in his life). In this aspect, Diaz is using science fiction and Yunior to highlight how two different realities exist. This helps the reader… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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