Fuku is a Japanese word that means “good fortune,” and in the United States it has been adopted as an adjective meaning “prosperous” or “wealthy.” The term, however, does not refer to what most people think of when they hear the word. Fuku can be translated to mean what we all want: happiness, prosperity, good luck. In order to achieve this fuku state in our lives, we must first understand what obstacles stand between us and what we desire.
The definition of fuku is given at the outset of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, when the author explains that it means “…usually a curse or a trouble of some sort; particularly the Curse and Doom of the New World” (Diaz 1). The purpose of the book, as defined by these explanations, is to explain the miserable life of Oscar and his family, as well as his failed efforts to achieve recognition and find love in life.
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In this light, the book suggests that the curse, or fuku, pursued Oscar and his family across generations, causing them to suffer tragic accidents and preventing them from finding love and forgiveness. Nonetheless, the author believes that zafa may be a remedy for all of the de Leon family’s problems. The tale is intended to counteract the traumatic experience of immigrants.
The flashbacks from the past are used to describe how difficult it was for Oscar’s family members to overcome their hardship. This is of major concern to Oscar’s grandmother Beli and his grandfather Aberald, especially since it involved the protagonist’s mother Beli and her abusive childhood. The chapter dedicated to Beli’s impoverished life as a result of growing up in such households is particularly moving.
Beli, like her son Oscar, is unable to arrange her personal life due to her social position. Her destiny becomes even more complicated, and she will be left out of society (Diaz 160). To emphasize the obvious effect of the spell, the author says that she was “in the clutches of darkness; days passed by like a shade through life” (160).
She survives as the Godlike Mongoose aids her, even though she is always on the verge of death while enduring challenges caused by the fuku. The story’s events are woven with mystical realism to explain concepts such as fate and zafa in terms of something natural happening to the characters. The author employs a variety of styles and uses various narrators in the novel’s chapters to bring out the mystical and mythical themes of fuku. The speech by Oscars, who bases his language on his knowledge of fiction, is particularly important.
The inclusion of new words and phrases connects the real world in which the characters live to the fantastic one in which Oscar is captivated. The majority of the terms, such as “I move slowly” (Diaz 39), or “Orchidaceous, I believe” (Diaz 35) are deftly woven into literary English. There’s a clear mix of Spanish and English languages throughout, as well as dialects and autodidactic speech because to the author’s rigid following of fuku and zafa mythology.
The mixture of both languages is employed by the narrative’s fictional narrator, Yunior, to exhibit Junot Diaz’s identity and alter ego. The narrator’s choice, on the other hand, varies from chapter to chapter to provide various perspectives on a single event. The writer’s involvement with the tale and his connection to the subject of fuku and zafa in his life are also reflected through the use of different speakers.
In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Diaz frequently employs symbolism and symbolic connections between characters, which is characteristic of magic realism. Fuku is symbolically represented through the tyrannical dictator Trujillo who hunts for Oscar, his mother, and his grandfather in this regard.
In contrast, the gold mongoose, which is a representation of zafa, is a migrant. This beast comes from Asia, Europe, and Africa and is thus an immigrant. The mongoose came to the Dominican Republic in the same way as the Oscar family.
Although the mongoose is associated with an extraterrestrial culture, it is shown as a clever and pleasant animal that successfully interacts and communicates with other characters (Diaz 40). The zafa identification of the Mongoose is also represented in numerous parts of the book. For example, during Trujillo’s people’a attack, the animal aids Beli in surviving.
The golden Mongoose appears and rescues him from the hazardous conflict. Despite its apparent existence in real life, the creature’s mysterious origins are emphasized by its unexpected appearance and disappearance throughout the narrative. Because no one can tell whether the beast is genuine or a figment of their imagination, Beli and Oscar’s encounters with the mongoose cannot be validated.
Throughout the book, Diaz employs science fiction references, symbolism and language, as well as a made-up scientific framework to depict the reality within which the protagonist lives. Constant contact with make believe and imaginary realms connects historical backstory of characters involved in the plot to supernatural occurrences.
From the beginning, the author employs unusual methods of exposition to describe novel facts, which are frequently punctuated by references to supernatural phenomena. In addition, there is a constant metaphor comparing the main characters in the tale, including Trujillo’s agent, who is likened to Angmar’s Witchking, and Diaz’ repeated inquiries regarding Santo Domingo’s sci-fi reality (Diaz 1).
The inclusion of fantastic elements in the narrative aims to provide readers a fictitious view of the spectrum of influences brought about by adversarial forces personifying Fuku. Furthermore, the Dominican dictator’s surreal dictatorship is used to illustrate the power of bad outcomes.
Finally, the novel is built on supernatural occurrences surrounding Abelard and Beli, who are frequently confronted with huge obstacles yet manage to overcome them. As a result, the novel’s overall mystery stems from its characters’ continual denial and acceptance of reality. Finally, the mythological concept of fuku and zafa establishes the context for analyzing story events and characters’ bad experiences. Fuku represents the difficulties that any family may endure, especially those who came from other countries and are regarded as social outcasts.
In this sense, the de Leon family is subjected to continual suffering as a result of Trujillo’s power and his control over the fates of other Oscar relatives. To convey the theme, the author employs such literary devices as flashback references, language peculiarities, and symbolic connections to strengthen the main focus of curse and its resistance.
From the beginning, Hard has given us an outstanding representation of both Fuku and Zafa. Themes relating to immigrant experience and the eternal fight between the new world and established limitations due to identity, culture, and personal attitudes on life are associated with both fuku and zafa. Diaz introduced the tale as a reaction to difficult experiences endured by immigrant families.
“Fuku—usually a curse or a sentence of doom in some form; particularly the Curse and Doom of the New World,” which is stated in Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, written by Junot Diaz (Diaz 1). You will get “fuku” if you make a poor decision, claims Junot Diaz on Q TV (YouTube) If you do not want to see your credit card information published online without your consent.
During an interview with Slate Magazine, Diaz claims that the book is about “the dangers of dictatorship” (Rourke 3). Oscar’s family’s three generations were affected by Trujillo, the Dominican Republic’s president and other dictatorships, according to Yunior’s telling.
In The Drowned and the Saved, a Dominican autobiography by Tomas Diaz, Abelard commits a mistake once again. He has the opportunity to send his daughters to live with Lydia’s family in Cube so that they may escape from Trujillo. But Abelard opts for “his Trujillo idea,” which states that “he only had to keep his head down, his mouth shut, his pants open, and his daughters hidden for another decade or two.” By then…Trujillo would be dead and the Dominican Republic would be a genuine democracy” (Diaz 227).
According to the sequel, his aim is only a hope in terms of how it will end. Nonetheless, there is still a third option available: he may leave everything and flee with his mistress. He makes another poor decision by deciding to stay in the Dominican Republic. As a result, all he can do now is wait for fuku. Abelard ends up incarcerated and dying in jail. His family eventually fractures as a result of this event. Two of his three daughters died in tragic circumstances after being sent to live with distant relatives.
The third daughter Beli is sold to a strange family as a slave. We can see why fuku befalls Abelard because he continues to make poor decisions. Also, the same reason that fuku befalls Beli who is Oscar’s mother may be found in Abelard’s family under the dictatorship of fuku. Under the reign of fuku, Beli is the second generation of Abelard’s household.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz is a short story about a lonely, overweight, sci-fi nerd named Oscar Wao who comes from a family of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Throughout the book, Oscar attempts to discover love and establish his own identity but fails within his community. He blames Beli, his mother’s Fuku (tradename for “God”), which we learn through flashbacks of life in the slums with his grandpa.
Throughout the film, we also get to see Lola, Oscar’s sister, life. In Diaz’s depiction of Oscar, Lola, and Beli, the patriarchy society embedded in the Dominican Republic culture is evident. First and foremost it is critical to comprehend an element of the novel that was frequently brought up and that Diaz refers to as “fuku” or “some sort of curse or destiny.”
In the novel’s first chapter, Diaz discusses the Domincan Republic’s history and speculates that “the arrival of the Europeans on Hispaniola loosened the fuku upon the world.”
The word “fuku” is an old Japanese term that refers to a person who has died. It became associated with death after the Domincan Republic was colonized, and it continues to be used today. When thinking about what colonization means, think of it as conquering, dominating, and controlling territory. The Domincan Republic’s attempt to rule over women may be symbolized by the word “colonization.”
The immense power of the patriarchy may be interpreted as a curse, given all of the negative consequences it has on certain people. This can show the long-standing patriotism structure that is clearly visible in Dominican culture throughout the book, when discussing the history of the Domincan Republic and the fuku. We are able to observe Oscar struggling with this patriarchal society throughout the novel.
The legend of Trujillo’s reign has influenced the idea of “machismo” in the Dominican Republic, which is associated with someone who is not only powerful but abusive towards women. This is exemplified by Oscar’s friend Yunior, a Domincan man. He defined himself as “a guy who could bench 340 pounds” and constantly had women around, according to his own words. We saw this dominican image again when Beli’s boyfriends The Gangster was mentioned. He was referred to having “piimpdaddy style” and allowing Beli to get beaten up when she is pregnant.
Let’s take a look at some examples of it one more time, this time with ex-girlfriends Ana and Ybon. They’re both assaulted and abused by their partners, yet they don’t get out of them, demonstrating the strength that men have over women. Oscar is always surrounded by these gender expectations regarding how he must perform. He is fully aware that he does not conform to the typical Dominalecan male because “couldn’t have pulled a lady if his life depended on it… couldn’t play sports for crap,” and he was “beyond uncoordinated.” When college began, Oscar was still having problems in the same areas.
After college, it is supposed to be a place to meet females and form serious attachments with genuine emotions. Oscar is unable to locate a woman to sleep with, let alone love or his fellow Yunior, who claims that “You’re not suppe at college… You can’t afford to care about anything”. He doesn’t belong in the group of people he’s supposed to identify with – his own race.
All individuals who do not fit into these preconceptions are harmed by them. Oscar’s inability to fit into a domincan stereotype causes him to become sad and take his life. For being different, he is despised. He is isolated from those who match the preconception. We may observe societal pressures in Lola later on in this chapter.
We observe Lola, in the novel, weaken and be depreciated as a result of her mother’s abuse and neglect. She also talks about the beatings she received from her boyfriends.
The story of Lola continued, and while she was going through it, the community she lived in did nothing about it since it was a Domiican community in New Jersey. Despite these high standards for her, Lola begins to rebel against all of these preconceptions. We learn that Lola is not what is expected of a woman since she is athletic, strong, dressed in all black, and even “shaves her head down to the bone,” which can be interpreted as things men are supposed to do and be.
Lola is also a strong and stubborn girl, as shown by her connection with Yunior. Instead of allowing herself to be dominated by a man, Lola was the one who “ended” the relationship. She questioned the notion of what it means to be a woman in her society. She began to live differently than society expected. In a Dominican’s eyes, she is seen as an embarrassment. Beli allows us to witness the impact that women’s objections have on Lola.
At first, we are able to observe Beli avoiding abuse masculinity through education. Beli aspires to be “a doctor with her own hospital,” but she learns that her “desirability…was, in its own way, Power” as she grows up. She employs it against me and to get ahead, even landing a job at the Palace of Peiping with it. She also does so with Jack Pujols and the Gangster.
As a result of this, Beli takes on the aggressive function of a typical Dominican male, abandoning her housework, becoming an “absentee parent,” and frightening her children more than “the dark or el cuco.” Following her arrival in the United States, Beli begins working three jobs while “slapping grown men”.
While her role was more masculine, she still expected Lola to adhere to conventional female roles. The idea that has been ingrained in Beli ultimately causes her to maltreat Lola emotionally and physically. As is typical for a guy, Beli ignores Lola’s sexual assault and tells her to “shut her mouth and stop crying,” demonstrating Beli’s lack of concern for Lola beyond her ability to attract males.
By reading this book, we are able to see the three characters not just struggle with but also fight against the patriarchy. We see these three individuals breaking the curse as they return to the fuku. Oscar is more than simply a physical depiction of a Dominican male; he “spends time gaining knowledge about himself and women” rather than looking for only sexual desires with females.
Since he is defying the male stereotypes, he is combating the fuku curse. Lola also combats the fuku curse since she bucks conventional gender roles. As she improves in strength, she is able to resist the spell because she does not adhere to society’s expectations. When she finds joy with her own family, we see her overcoming.
Also, while Lola and Oscar’s parents fought against these social norms in the same way that their children do, Beli fights them a different approach. They all absorbed the influence of expectations and preconceptions, with the exception being that of Lola and Oscar – who stood up to fuku. To summarize, Diaz was able to demonstrate how patriarchy transforms people negatively using characters such as Oscar, Lola, and Beli in The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
The fuku plays an important role in demonstrating this male-dominated society in this novel to show us that as long as gender stereotypes and expectations are present, they will hound us. Because it might result in harmful effects, gender issues should be addressed more frequently. This book aids the audience in opening their eyes to this system so that they may make a change to these preconceptions since if not for the curse or fuku, we would be haunted forever. If things don’t improve, the narrator states that the “world’s end” is at hand.