Award Date

12-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English

Department

English

First Committee Member

Vince Perez, Chair

Second Committee Member

Evelyn Gajowski

Third Committee Member

John H. Irsfeld

Graduate Faculty Representative

Jorge Galindo

Number of Pages

63

Abstract

The purpose of my thesis is to analyze Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and evaluate the role literature plays within the larger context of the relationship among the different countries and cultures in the Western Hemisphere, as well as the place historical events play within this understanding. In Díaz’s novel, there is an understanding of the presence of multiple cultural identities. This awareness of multiple cultural identities leads to the difficulty the characters encounter when trying understanding themselves as individuals. On a much larger scale, the characters also try to understand their cultural, social, and historical place in their immediate surroundings, as well as in the much larger context of American. I will explore these topics using the critical approach known as Hemispheric Studies, a critical approach that studies literature written anywhere in the Americas and looks at it as belonging to the hemisphere as a whole. The purpose of this critical approach is to expand the scope with which literature is studied and understood. A work of literature is not constrained by the borders that have been placed on a map, a common and influential notion in critical literary studies. Instead, what must be recognized are the different cultures and histories that are in constant interaction with one another, evidence of the literature’s complex composition.

Keywords

Brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao; Cultural hybridity; Díaz; Junot; 1968-; Family history; Hemispheric studies; Junot Díaz; Multiculturalism; Rafael Trujillo; Transnational identity; Trujillo Herrera; Rafael

Disciplines

American Literature | Arts and Humanities | Literature in English, North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Modern Literature

Language

English