Grant Glass, Harvard University
Full paper: www.kon.org/urc/v12/glass.html
Abstract This paper discusses where and how Díaz positions himself within a Latino identity, and how his narrative style incorporates his sense of Latino culture specifically in The Brief Life of Oscar Wao (2007) and Drown (1996).
Introduction Junot Díaz began his first novel, The Brief Life of Oscar Wao (2007) with an epigraph, a poem from the Saint Lucian born Derek Walcott. The poem, “The Schooner Flight” (1980) described the complicated affirmation of identity: “. . . and either I’m nobody or I’m a nation.” Díaz understood that this quote had far reaching implications beyond just the framing of the novel but in positioning his work to a larger group. The question became what group, and even further what identity was he claiming? Was it American, Hispanic, Dominican, or Latino? Only by carefully reading the literary style of Díaz in which he executes his narrative would he reveal what his association was and how that association functioned. Not only did Díaz use poetry to inform and frame his novel, he also used the same device to frame his short story collections.