The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | Study Guide

Junot Díaz

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Course Hero. "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Study Guide." Course Hero. 25 May 2017. Web. 22 May 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Brief-Wondrous-Life-of-Oscar-Wao/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, May 25). The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 22, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Brief-Wondrous-Life-of-Oscar-Wao/

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Course Hero. "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Study Guide." May 25, 2017. Accessed May 22, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Brief-Wondrous-Life-of-Oscar-Wao/.

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Course Hero, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Study Guide," May 25, 2017, accessed May 22, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Brief-Wondrous-Life-of-Oscar-Wao/.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao | Part 3, Chapter 8 : The End of the Story | Summary

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Summary

Yunior and Lola fly to Santo Domingo to collect Oscar's body and arrange for his funeral. Belicia's cancer returns, and she dies ten months later.

As for Us

Yunior and Lola's relationship disintegrates and they break up. Yunior discovers Lola has met someone in Miami and is engaged and pregnant.

On a Super Final Note

Yunior still thinks of Oscar often, and of their time together at college. He dreams about him, a dream in which Oscar is wearing a mask and holding a book full of blank pages.

The Dreams

Ten years later Yunior wakes up one day after a drug binge and feeling lost, and says, "OK Wao, OK. You win."

As for Me

Yunior lives in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, now and teaches writing at Middlesex Community College. He owns a home and is married and has stopped chasing girls, choosing to spend his free time writing.

As for Us

Yunior still runs into Lola, who has moved back to Paterson with her husband and daughter. There are no bad feelings between them, but Yunior recalls how he used to dream about how he could finally say the right words to save their relationship, but he always woke up too soon.

Analysis

Belicia's guilt over Oscar's death reveals her sense of responsibility that, by not telling Oscar about her own similar experience, she may have inadvertently played a role in history repeating itself. Oscar's death impacts Lola and Yunior in different ways, and perhaps leads to their final breakup, with Yunior admitting, "I did all I could and still it wasn't enough."

Yunior's dream of Oscar, in which Oscar is now the Man Without a Face who hands him a book of blank pages, indicates that now Yunior is part of the family's curse, and it has fallen on him to tell their story, which he has tried to do in the pages of the book the reader is now reading. This technique of "metafiction"—in which a book acknowledges its own role as a book the reader is holding—is a common element in magical realist writing, which blends the fantastical with the real qualities of everyday existence. In this light Díaz lines up his novel with the tradition of other works of magical realism and also leaves the ultimate meaning of the novel ambiguous in magical realist fashion. Yunior also reveals he is writing this story years in the future, because that is how long it took him to fully understand the lessons of the family's story. Yunior also leaves his own blanks for the reader to fill in, the words he couldn't say to Lola to save their relationship. With this connection between Yunior and the family's problem—telling each other the stories that need to be told—Díaz reminds the reader of the power of words and honesty, even when they are difficult. In the case of Oscar and his family, they are a matter of life and death, and a way to right the wrongs of the past, or possibly end the family's curse.

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