The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | Study Guide

Junot Díaz

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | Part 2, Preface | Summary



The story returns to Lola, and her return to Paterson after staying with her grandmother. Lola is reluctant to leave, and she stops attending her classes and track meets. She has an affair with the father of one of her friends, who pays her for sex. Lola considers using the money to travel far away, until her mother comes to bring her back to the United States. Lola reveals she is a mother now, and this has caused her to better understand her own mother's attitude toward her.

Lola considers running away after her mother brings her back, but before she leaves she finds out her ex-boyfriend, Max, has died in a motorcycle accident. Although some would tell Lola it is the curse of her family, she believes it is just the way life is.


Lola returns to the narration abruptly, almost as though she is in the middle of telling her story, with "of course I tried once more." Although she initially resists returning to New Jersey, she ultimately can't wait to escape Santo Domingo, following in mother's restless footsteps. Yet Lola realizes in hindsight "if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away." By this she means it is impossible to escape her own restlessness and problems, which will follow her wherever she goes, regardless of her physical location. Yet Lola also reveals she doesn't believe in curses, but that "there is only life." This insight reveals that Lola believes life is miserable and unhappy enough without the help of curses, that "all the happiness you gather to yourself, it will sweep away like it's nothing." This belief separates Lola from other characters in the novel who do believe a curse is controlling their lives, yet this doesn't cause Lola to necessarily take responsibility for her own unhappiness.

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