Often times, people let their guilt control their actions and change the course of their lives because of the devastation they feel for their mistakes. If not dealt with properly, a guilty conscience can ruin a life or stop a person from thinking clearly. Throughout the novel The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Oscar attempts to live his life in accordance to what is expected of him, but cannot seem to please his demanding Dominican family; much less live up to Yunior’s high standards. The pressure Oscar feels from Yunior makes Oscar live his life with the sole purpose of wanting to become a true Dominican man. When Oscar dies, Yunior confuses his guilt for Oscar’s death with the guilt he feels for betraying Lola. Yunior continues Oscar’s legacy by writing the nerd’s tragic story and saving his manuscripts in order to save Lola and her daughter from the fuku rather than continue the legacy for Oscar’s sake. While Yunior embodies masculinity, Oscar is the “fat lonely nerdy kid” who deals with his insecurities by immersing himself in reading and writing, the only constant and reliable things in his life (Diaz 19). The polar differences between the two characters cause Yunior to feel sympathetic toward Oscar so that Yunior tries to give the nerd pointers to be a ladies man. All of Oscar’s life he searches to feel at home, to feel loved, and to feel at peace with himself, but confuses these feelings with lust. When Oscar finally thinks he’s found this love with Ybon, however, signs of the family’s fuku start spurting up, such as the bullet in La Inca’s door and when Oscar almost dies in the canefields like his mother. Although Oscar’s death seems tragic it is not in vain because he lived with a purpose and died in fulfillment of that purpose. Oscar’s death is not a blameful occurrence on anyone in his family, but Yunior cannot help feel guilty for supplying the money that enables Oscar to go back to Santo Domingo. While this...
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