FLET 100L Lecture 20: FLETResearchJunotDiazExample

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Department
Foreign Literature in English Translation
Course
FLET 100L
Professor
Slater
Semester
Spring

Description
Junot Díaz: The Identity Resuscitator Academic Research Findings on Junot Díaz Writings Sam Harvey ABSTRACT Shred the conventional masks. History, nationality, racism, institutionalism, colonialism, Euro-centrism, the immigrant experience, all of these are heavily weighed issues that Junot Diaz doesn’t shy away from. The world doesn’t forget. Junot Díaz brings the uncomfortable aspects of society and its past to light, angering nationalists, the state, in order to leave behind a legacy of truths undeniable, yet never formally accepted by the powers that be. Expose the rotting flesh. Sam Harvey (10am class) 2/25/17 Junot Díaz: The Identity Resuscitator Junot Díaz uses specific metaphorical dialogue and literary form to challenge the status quo of what the immigrant experience and Dominican-American identities have or should be in order to give voice to those left unspoken. He often takes certain characteristics of particular genres and incorporates these foreign elements into his own work in order to emphasize the need for an opening to outside voices or an acceptance of immigrants into an otherwise white-ified mainstream American story. Junot Díaz uses Spanish vocabulary, elements of science fiction and fantasy, and constant reference to ‘fukú americanus’ to highlight the disastrous consequences colonialism continues to have on ethnicities and minority communities in present day transit into American society. The effects of dislocation directly influence the forging of new Dominican-American generations and their identities. These academic sources make the point of acknowledging how Diaz’s written material contains mostly depressing or at least negative events with the hopes of forcefully calling for discourse and acceptance of immigrants’ impacts on the shaping of their host country, America. The authors of both sources have an extensive knowledge of Diaz writings and ‘fan-girl’ over how his inner- nerd fuels outspoken attitudes in the narratives of his diverse characters. Bautista suggests that Junot Diaz’s narrative eclecticism serves the purpose to challenge easy classification of immigrant identities. Diaz uses a combination of “science fiction, fantasy, comic books, and gritty realism [with] … a strong tradition of magical realism in Latin American and Latino writing… to capture the bewildering variety of cultural influences that define the lives of Díaz’s Dominican-American protagonists” (42). In his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Diaz analogizes the ostracized Dominican-American main character, Oscar, with his similarly outside approach to his homeland of Santo Domingo and its fantastic aspects significantly, “through the optics of literary genres that are not exclusively or, in the case of science fiction, even particularly Latin American” (Bautista, 43). ‘Fuku americanus’ is the belief that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed a curse on the world. According to Balée, Yunior, the narrator has the “need to rebel against all rules put in place by conquering forces” (342). This and further references to the ‘fuku’ curse in the novel correlates to Diaz’s attitudes towards European colonization on the Caribbean islands and other parts of the world. In addition to Oscar, Yunior also shows an affection towards the speculative genres of science-fiction and comic books, as well as, “dr
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