Department or Program
Queerness is at the forefront in Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, though critics rarely discuss the novel in this context. Oscar shapes his experience in terms of his beloved sci-fi Genres and is considered queer by the other characters for it, especially by the novel’s narrator. Moreover, Lola shapes her experience in popular culture as well and holds her own queer traits. However, this is all mediated through the hypermasculine narrator Yunior, Oscar’s sometimes friend and Lola’s sometimes lover. This thesis examines the ways that the novel’s queer narratives reflect back on Yunior, who criticizes queerness and yet clearly holds his own queer traits. In particular, this thesis examines the ways that Yunior silences queerness in the novel, following Elena Machado Sáez’s claim that Yunior silences Oscar’s queerness through a false ending. This thesis claims that Yunior’s machismo is itself an attempted resistance to the Trujillato’s violence but nonetheless replicates the dictatorship’s violence by replicating its strict standards of Dominicanity and un-Dominicanity. These standards are based in terms of race, gender, and state that Yunior is unable to incorporate the novel’s queer characters into. While the queer characters are able to find spaces for their queerness in the DR, they continually shape their queer experiences in terms of popular culture produced for the Global North. Yunior’s narrative is his attempt to recognize the queer characters and explore his own potential queerness, but he is unable to do so and takes steps to silence the queer narratives instead.
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Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access
Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Arts
Steverson, Nicholas Jason, "“To my virginity!”: Queerness, Silencing, and Dominicanity in Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (2015). Honors Theses. 129.
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