Isolation: Real or Imagined?
In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, isolation is a common theme that contributes to character development throughout the novel. Junot Diaz, in his narration of Oscar’s life through the eyes of Yunior, induces the idea that isolation is a self-imagined way for a character or person to justify his/her differences from society and the people around them. While there are outside forces that contribute to the feeling of isolation, such as cultural differences, immigration, and gender stereotypes and expectations; in the end, Diaz firmly believes that a person’s feeling of isolation is a crutch to reason why he/she does not fit in.
Diaz believes that the feeling of isolation is a self-imagined feeling that helps a person justify why he/she is an outcast in society. In the novel, the theme of isolation is common throughout all the main characters; Oscar, Lola, and Beli. To start with, Oscar begins as a typical Dominican male. As a child, Oscar was considered “a Casanova” who was “a ‘normal’ Dominican boy raised in a ‘typical’ Dominican family” (11). Oscar eventually grows “fatter and fatter,” develops “zits,” and gets “self-conscious” because his “interest in “Genres...bec[o]me[s] synonymous with being a loser...” (16, 17). Because Oscar suddenly turns into an outcast, he blames his dorkiness and homely appearance for his lack of acceptance by the outside world. What Diaz underlines, though, is that Oscar has control over his life, but isolates himself by letting everyone elses opinions and judgements affect his actions and opinions of himself. Next, Lola believes she is isolated in that her mother has certain expectations of her to be the perfect Dominican daughter. Lola blames her mother for “mak[ing] [Lola] doubt [herself]” and believes that Beli is the reason Lola feels so isolated (56). However, Diaz claims that Lola’s feeling of isolation comes from within her. Lola claims that because of her mother’s...
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