Drown: a Consideration

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In Drown, a collection of short stories, author Junot Diaz presents readers with an impoverished group of characters through harsh, but vivid language. Through the voice of Yunior, the narrator throughout the majority of the stories, Diaz places the blame for Yunior's negativity and rebellious nature on the disappointment caused by his father and the childhood illusion of America. Diaz, through language and symbolism, forces readers into an emotional bond with Yunior while exposing the illusory nature of the American dream. Although intertwined with each story, "Fiesta, 1980" allows for a more concise discussion of Diaz's purpose. Diaz's language, even at first glance, appears very different from conventional authors:Mami's younger sister- my tia Yrma-finally made it to the United States that year. She and Tio Miguel got themselves an apartment in the Bronx…He didn't say nothing to nobody. (Drown, 23)Two aspects, his Spanish interjections into the text and his tendency to disregard English rules of grammar, surface in the opening of "Fiesta, 1980." Yunior's narratives contain Spanish words an average of about every other sentence. Diaz uses them to keep readers aware of Yunior's culture and homeland, attempting to stop the "stifling" effect America often has on immigrants' cultures. Also, Yunior's rejection of the norms of English writing, evident in the phrases "got themselves" and "nothing to nobody" in the above quote, gives his narratives a certain rebellious quality. Not only does he rebel against America's tendency to smother cultural values but rebelling against American rules in general, even the rules of grammar. Diaz continues his grammatical attack on the United States' rules with his lack of quotation marks:Papi pulled me to my feet by my ear.If you throw up-I wont I cried, tears in my eyes…Ya, Ramon, ya. It's not his fault, Mami said.All of the conversations are printed in the manner above, without any...
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