Prompt: Oscar's last words in his last letter-"The beauty! The beauty!" (335)-directly parallel the final words of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: "The horror! The horror!" Using the lens of Post-Colonialism, explain how the novel is less a story about a boy/man seeking love than a novel about the Dominican Republic and its contemporary diaspora, just as Conrad's novel emerges as a post-colonial rendering of Africa and the effects of Belgian rule.
Post-colonialist writing creates a more subjective view of history by providing a new perspective on colonialism and its effects though the eyes of diasporic communities, a viewpoint that has been unheard of until recently. The European morals and values are blended with indigenous traditions, creating a new and unique manifestation of post-colonial cultures. Diaz's The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness explores the effects of European influence through those who fall victim to diaspora.
I am not sure if I am completely answering the prompt fully, and I want to know if there is anything i can do to make it sound more interesting. Thank you.
Hi CamReLind, let me help you out regarding your essay. overall, you have shown a good introduction. Yet, you need to link every sentence, since it is like no correlation between one paragraph to the other one.
My suggestion: use sentece connector such after that, however, in addition, on the other hand, etc especailly in the second and the third paragraph, so it will drive your intro more powerful.
... a viewpoint that has been unheard of until recently. In addition, the European morals and values are blended ...
Hi Cameron, I did a little work on your essay. I hope you don't mind. Just a few adjustments and transition sentences here and there :-) The overall work is good. It leaves the reader with questions to ponder. However, I think the conclusion needs some work. the discussion does not seem to have closed properly at this point. In fact, it does not look like a conclusion at all but rather, a continuing discussion within the essay. Anyway, here is what I came up with for you:
Post-colonialist writing creates a more subjective view of history by providing a new perspective on colonialism and its effects though the eyes of diasporic communities, a viewpoint that is generally unheard of until recently. In addition, the European morals and values blend with indigenous traditions, creating a new and unique manifestation of post-colonial cultures. Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness both serve as allegories of diaspora. Each explores the effects of European influence, which diminishes original customs of places that were colonized, through those who fall victim to diaspora and are in search of a new identity. In order to understand this subjective view of history, we, as the readers, must first understand the history of the countries and how its influence affected the authors of these works. I believe that the best way to do this is by doing a side by side comparison of the two author's works.
In the history of the Caribbean, Africa, and most of the world, diaspora has been an constant theme. The exchange of people, goods and ideas are introduced in these "uncivilized" places, thus creating a mixture of cultures and ideas. Diaz points out that a person's identity is never black and white. This coincides with Oscar Wao's idea that the hybridity of the characters' identities creates a significant understanding as to why the characters are the way they are, and how they perceive notions of home, their own identity, each other, and their past and present. As the characters grow, they struggle with figuring out how to define themselves in the world. As depicted in Diaz's novel, Lola's bruja feeling does not come from nowhere. cultural problems have a source usually deeply rooted in the misconceptions planted by colonialism, meant to help the colonizers control the "minorities".
When cultures clash, the seemingly more "powerful" culture is seen as the more valued philosophy. Looking even at today's society, it is clear that European hegemony is influential in many of parts of the world's cultures. European influence creates the perception that indigenous people and their different way of life are inferior and this opinion has an effect on the rest of society. As a result these seemingly sub-par people are oppressed by the "more civilized" ones. Throughout Conrad's novel , Marlow , a man of European descent expresses his dislike for the "God-forsaken wilderness," (pg 20) in Congo. Continuously calling the African tribe members savages because of their different way of life and their lack of "sunken cheeks, [and] a yellow complexion..." (pg 54). This emphasizes overall rejection of indigenous ways based upon physical characteristics.
Characteristics such as fairer skin and lighter colored eyes have equated having a higher place in society while being described as dark is seen as an insult. Ideal beauty is based on European standards , thus creating the colorism and racism that was prevalent in these communities and is still seen in society today. These notions have caused the oppression of minority individuals by not only imperialists, but other minorities as well. . Beli in Oscar Wao is constantly reminded of his difference from other Dominicans because of her darker skin and caused problems that 40 acres and a mule, for example, cannot fix. Although attempts to repress these cultures have been made, aspects of indigenous culture manage to be maintained.
European colonization brought beliefs such as Christianity that were imposed on indigenous communities, in order to suppress their original beliefs. However, by means of language, food, clothing, and religion the indigenous culture is able to keep many of its superstitions alive. This is exemplified in the novel by Yunior's explanation regarding the unfortunate events that are experienced by the Cabaral-de Leon family. Yunior blames these occurrences on fuku, Dominican voodoo. Thus showing that each culture becomes a diaspora because of the way that people blend 2 existing cultures in order to create a unique culture for their own country.
Although it is near impossible for a person to be made up of one culture, it is always simpler to categorize people or associate people with a group. There is a natural inclination to labeling Diasporas as either nobodies or as part of a nation, instead of laying claim to a mix of cultures. In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Oscar is continuously ostracized because of the hybridity of his identity;
"The white kids looked at his black skin and his Afro and treated him with inhuman cheeriness. The kids of color, upon hearing him speak and seeing him move his body, shook their heads. You're not Dominican."(pg blah blah )
He is considered too different for Americans, because of his Dominican features and his fluency in Spanish, at the same time not Dominican enough to be Dominican because of his nerdiness. Yunior compares this sentiment to being a mutant from the X-man comic book series. He is a mutant because of his special abilities and features, which makes him belong to a world that does not exist in our physical reality.
Junot Diaz highlights the effects of the second wave of Dominican diaspora when several Dominicans moved to the US to escape Trujillo's regime. Diaz's use of Spanglish throughout the novel embodies the effects of living in a community of people who are forced to leave their home country, but they try to preserve their home language. "Trujillo came to control nearly every aspect of the DR's political, cultural, social, and economic life through a potent mixture of violence, intimidation, massacre, rape, co-optation, and terror." (pg 2) The culture of oppression, terror and emasculation created a machismo society that the Dominican Republic is famous for.