The Postmodern Aesthetic of Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Summary, in English
This thesis examines The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) by Junot Díaz as an example of postmodern fiction. The thesis begins with a background chapter that outlines the central characteristics of postmodern fiction, followed by three chapters that tackle one main postmodern aspect of the novel each: fragmentation, metafiction and intertextuality. First, the novel’s use of fragmentation is explored in relation to its effects on the reader and as a way of conveying the splintered lives of its characters. Second, the metafictional aspects of the novel—particularly its narration—is discussed as a way of opening up the history of the Dominican Republic for interpretation by exposing its status as a narrative construct, thereby alerting the readers to their processes of interpretation. Finally, the novel’s intertextual elements are considered as a way of destabilising notions of cultural identity while simultaneously creating an amalgamation of Western and Caribbean aesthetic forms that allow for a new understanding of the identities and experiences of the Dominican diaspora. Considered together, these three aspects of the novel illustrate its dependence on a postmodern literary aesthetic in fostering critical readers and reinterpreting the history and diaspora of the Dominican Republic.