In the book “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by the Author, Junot Díaz, begins the story by telling the story of the curse of the fukú and how the fukú is “real as shit”. In the book the fukú is known as a supernatural curse that is believed in by Hispanic families, they believe that the fukú has cursed their family, but Oscar does not believe that the fukú is a real curse put on him nor his family.
In the beginning of the first chapter the theme of masculinity (specifically Dominican masculinity) is presented within the first couple of sentences. Oscar’s bad luck with women and his interest in fantasy fiction has characterized him as an outsider in life. Oscar is teased throughout high school and college; people saying that he is “not a real Dominican”. Although people tease him saying he is not Dominican he represents the how Dominican/Hispanic immigrants are thought to be outsiders in many cases.
The theme of love and violence is also demonstrated within the first chapter of the book. The fact that as a child Oscar was always pressured to be a “Casanova” (seducer of women) and that he was always taught that he could not receive nor maintain love without the aspect of violence; that there must be violence in order to gain the respect and the love of a woman. The theme of love and violence which is also shown at the point where Oscar falls in love with Ana, but Manny, Ana’s abusive and controlling ex-boyfriend comes back from the army because of drug problems. Oscar is in love with Ana but she is drawn to the controlling and violent Manny instead of Oscar; who seems just about perfect for her.
The next chapter begins by being written in the second person and is being told by Oscar’s sister Lola. It begins by giving the backstory from Lola’s perspective about the time her mother Belicia called her to the bathroom to feel a lump in her breast. When Lola feels the lump in her breast she believes she gets what she calls “bruja” (witch) feelings. This introduces the theme of supernatural. When she gets these bruja feelings it is a sign that either something must happen or what is going on is of significant importance. When Lola felt that bump that was a huge turning point in Lola’s life. Since the primary source of Belicia’s sex appeal and thus her source of power was her breast; after, her mastectomy she lost her power over Lola as well.
Lola decided to completely cut off all her hair and this creates a sense of similarity between both Belicia and Lola since both physical features symbolize femininity.The theme of love and violence is once again shown but this time it is shown from the perspective of Lola and her relationship with Belicia. Belicia loves Lola and therefore she believes that she must use violence in order to control and keep Lola safe. The theme of love and violence is also shown in her relationship with Aldo. Lola attempts to use the power of sex and the power of the love that she believes she has for Aldo, but it only ends in unpleasure, arguments, and fights. Once Lola and Belicia are reunited Belicia sends Lola to live with her grandmother La Inca.
In DR with La Inca Lola find out that her mom was also just as rebellious as herself. The following chapter now returns to the point of view of the original narrator but now continues to tell the life story of Oscar and Lola’s mother, Belicia Cabral. This now continues to pick up from where Lola and her grandmother, La Inca were talking about Belicia’s “rebellious” stage of her life just like Lola was going through. The story of Beli is told to emphasize the point that without Beli and her story neither Oscar nor Lola would have been born. Continuing with the theme of supernatural Beli, just like Lola in chapter 2 has her own set of powers, although they aren’t the same bruja possessions that Lola possesses, Beli possesses the power of her sex appeal towards men. This power is what lures men to Beli.
The theme of love and violence once again appears in this chapter in both physical situations and psychological situations. The first scenario in the chapter with the connection between love and violence is when Beli is with Jack Pujols. Beli falls in love with Jack but he does not treat her right and has continuous sex with Beli in the janitors closet which causes pain to Beli. Beli deals with the pain due to the fact that she is in love with Jack and he tells her that he is going to marry her. The second scenario has to do with the psychological damage that Dionisio (the gangster) caused Beli. He would always promise Beli that he would marry her, buy her a house, and would always be there for her. Dionisio made Beli empty promises that left her damaged on the inside. Adding on to the psychological damage done to Beli by Dionisio, Dionisio would constantly leave for days and even weeks at a time without notice leaving Beli hurt and broken inside.
To continue with the theme of love and violence, Beli was in love with Dionisio who also happened to be married to a Trujillo; Trujillo’s sister herself, known as “La fea”. Once La fea found out that Beli was pregnant with Dionisio’s child La fea sent her goons after Beli and almost beat Beli to death. In the process of Beli’s beating, Beli lost her unborn child. Due to Beli’s love for Dionisio it cost her her unborn child and almost her life.
In this chapter the man without a face makes his first appearance. This unknown character appears through the book as a signal that the fukú curse is present. In continuation of the supernatural theme in this book, Beli possesses the powers of her sex appeal, La Inca’s prayers are what causes the zafa (charm) that saved Beli from being beat to death, and the fact that there is a talking and singing mongoose giving advice and helping Beli find her way out of the canefield. This shows the supernatural element in this chapter. In chapter the narrator is finally revealed to be Yunior, Oscar’s roommate at the University.
Yunior is theoretically the complete opposite of Oscar. Yunior is the perfect example of a “Dominicano,” everything Oscar’s family wish him to be.