modern world, created by immigrants, is articulated through a mix of references from all over the social spectrum. This creates a new reality, aware of itself as the culmination of its past. It mirrors Diaz’s focus on people as a result of their history. Chagoya states his work is, “The result is a nonlinear narrative with many possible interpretations.” This is similar to Diaz’s insistence on many interpretations of his text and the fractured nature of his narrative. It is not a coincidence that these two artists are using almost identical aesthetics indifferent mediums. Diaz and Chagoya exist within a contemporary movement looking to change the story of the third world and the use of post-modern imagery. Diaz meant for there to be a comic book section to Oscar Wao, so the use of images is close to his thoughts. This is only the cusp of a movement that is relatively new, but other artists suchas Daniel Guzman create a collision of images with many interpretations. One of Guzman’s creations is a scarecrow made out of an old transistor radio, vinyl records, a shirt, a pair of pants, and a Mexican boxing mask for the head. He says this is his take on “the New Fire,” an Aztec ritual involving human sacrifice. These artists do not exist in a vacuum, instead reacting to and interacting with the world around them. The hierarchy-breaking aesthetic of blending images from all over the cultural spectrum can be seen in every form of art. Music artists such as M.I.A., who blend beats and politics native to the third world with hip-hop, electronica, and rock, are part of the same movement. Even the Oscar winning film by Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire,shares the same aesthetic as Diaz and his contemporaries. This is a movement that could only happen at this point in history. Just like the images and characters in their art, they are a result of what came before them and the images that surround them. 12
Diaz’s insistence on a focus on Dominican history explores the nature of time in the story. As with the unsympathetic gangster, each person in this story is the culminationof his or her past. That is why this is still the story of Oscar, even though he appears in less than half of the narrative. His family and the politics that surround them culminate inOscar becoming who he is. By telling the stories of Beli and Abelard (Oscar’s grandfather), Diaz helps the reader understand how a life is the culmination of extraordinarily unlikely circumstances. The stories Oscar read and the movies he watchedfurther fill out his world. He is also the result of hundreds of years of colonization and exploitation. Not only does his placement in America mark this, but also others’ hatred of his dark skin reflects the years of conditioning that dark skin equals evil. The mixing of all these elements creates a world, a reality, within which Oscar exists.