The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Many people think that boys in our culture today are brought up to define their identities through heroic individualism and competition, particularly through separation from home, friends, and family in an outdoors world of work and doing. While on the other hand, girls are brought up to define their identities through connection, cooperation, self-sacrifice, domesticity, and community in an indoor world of love and caring. This view of different male and female roles can be seen throughout In the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao novel. Examining gender roles is an extremely important way to read the text and to fully understand the characters, their roles and sexual tension throughout the book. The novel takes place both in New Jersey and the Dominican Republic, places in which the ideal “man” is oozing masculinity and is tough, suave, and able to stand up for himself while the ideal woman tends to be a bit more dependent and in less control than males. In Oscar’s family, however, this is not true at all and it is important to ask ourselves, what happens when a group of people do not conform to the roles most people want them to fit in to? The main character Oscar, appears to be the antithesis of the stereotypical Dominican man. Meaning he is overweight, unable to fit in, a nerd and our narrator informs us of that, right in the very first page of the novel, “dude never had much luck with the females (how very un-Dominican of him)”. (Diaz, 2007, p. 11) His difference from the typical male stereotype is something that he has a lot of trouble coping with throughout his life, because he wants nothing more than to fit in. And with the fact that he is unable to, allows us to draw conclusions very early on about many of the factors of his unfortunate fate. He is constantly in love, but never able to do anything about it and therefore suffers heartbreak on a daily basis and rejection is his constant companion. Without the...
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