Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This essay began as an examination of Junot Díaz’s combination of “low” and “high” culture art and literature in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.In the wake of Díaz publishing “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma,” and the subsequent accusations of abuse against him, it seemed irresponsible to examine the text in such a way without considering this new information. It was both more topical and relevant to re-examine the portrayal of Díaz’s recurring tragic playboy narrator through two short story collections and a novel, making note of the character’s proximity to Díaz’s own life story as presented in “The Silence,” and considering the implicit forgiveness offered to both the character and the author via framing their struggles with sexual misconduct as central tragedy, and those they hurt as functional props to those narratives. The purpose here is not to cast judgment on Díaz, but to use this added context to interrogate the male-dominated society he writes, which ensnares and encapsulates all the characters under his pen.
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VanWormer, Jacob. Trauma Begetting Trauma: Fukú, Masks, and Implicit Forgiveness in the Works of Junot Díaz. 2020. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000197