Kevin A. Louderback
Dr. Andrew Strombeck
11 January 2016
Domestic Masculinity and the Trujillo Regime in Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
A compelling aspect of Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is the relationship between violent patriarchal domestic control and the abuses of the Trujillo dictatorship. While nuclear family structure isn’t a part of Oscar’s life, it does exist in Abelard’s segment. Abelard, acting as the typical Dominican male, lives with his wife and two daughters while having a relationship with Lydia, his extramarital lover. Yunior and Oscar’s tio, Rudolpho, are categorized as womanizers, and Beli’s Gangster’s indiscretions become actual misdirected violence against the unwitting second female of the triangle. The Trujillo regime is oppressive and patriarchal while intimidation and control through sexual dominance and aggression are an unmistakable part of the Dominican eras used as backdrops in Diaz’s novel.
In “Disseminating “El Chivo”: Junot Diaz’s Response to Maria Vargas Llosa in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Victor Figueroa cites the many names given to Trujillo, emphasizing their origin as sci-fi/fantasy antagonists, or comic book villain monikers. Figueroa states that “[s]ignifiers multiply as the signified becomes more elusive, and gradually Diaz’s main concerns begin to emerge with more clarity: language itself, and literary representation” (Figueroa 5). The article also looks toward Foucauldian “concepts of power” and their presence in Trujillo’s Dominican Republic. Power “circulates” in the Dominican Republic of Oscar Wao, and the domestic and personal relationships of the novel are affected by its socially imbalanced nature.
Figueroa, Victor. “Disseminating “El Chivo”: Junot Diaz’s Response to Mario Vargas Llosa in The Brief and Wondrous of Oscar Wao.” Chasqui 42.1 (2013): 95-108. Print.
Kevin A. Louderback