Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
In his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz introduces a cast of characters. In this paper I will discuss the implications of the particular positionality of the youngest generation of the de León family - Oscar and Lola - and their peer and the book's main narrator, Yunior. These characters have an especially complex relationship with their identities as a result of moving to the United States as adolescents, and must formulate ways to navigate both of these cultures while also contending with their status as subjects situated simultaneously outside of and in-between these societies.
These characters not only provide ways to think about the implications of immigrant identity in Diaspora, but I will also show that their experiences have a significant relationship with formulations of queer temporality. I will illustrate how the alienation that Díaz's characters' experience not only extends to culture and linguistics, but also sets them in contrast to normative temporal figurations of past, present, and future. Through this analysis I will illustrate how queer theory can prove useful in understanding experiences of hybridity and alienation even in contexts where queer sexualities as such do not necessarily appear as central, and will provide a way to read Díaz's characters as relevant to discussions of queer temporality.
Mitchell, Kristina Isabel, "Narrating Resistance through Failure: Queer Temporality and Reevaluations of Success in Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (2013). Comparative Literature Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 43.