The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Díaz
Gender Quotes in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Chapter.Section.Paragraph), (Act.Special Chapter.Paragraph)
In the forties and fifties, Porfirio Rubirosa—or Rubi, as he was known in the papers—was the third-most-famous Dominican in the world (first came the Failed Cattle Thief, and the Cobra Woman herself, Maria Montez). A tall, debonair prettyboy whose "enormous phallus created havoc in Europe and North America," Rubirosa was the quintessential jet-setting car-racing polo-obsessed playboy, the Trujillato's "happy side" (for he was indeed one of Trujillo's best-known minions). (126.96.36.199)
This book plays with stereotypes of Dominican men: they're playboys, they're super-masculine, and they all have insatiable sex drives. Porfirio Rubirosa serves as the exaggerated model for this stereotype. It's really important to ask yourself how Oscar Wao and Yunior both fit and don't fit this model.
[Oscar] [h]ad none of the Higher Powers of your typical Dominican male, couldn't have pulled a girl if his life depended on it. Couldn't play sports for shit, or dominoes, was beyond uncoordinated, threw a ball like a girl. Had no knack for music or business or dance, no hustle, no rap, no G. And most damning of all: no looks. (188.8.131.52)
This passage tells what qualities a Dominican male is supposed to have. Good looks, slickness with the ladies, athleticism, rhythm, and shrewdness. How do other men in the book treat Oscar, since he is so lacking in most of these qualities? How do you think Yunior understands Oscar? Does he respect Oscar?
Oscar, Lola warned repeatedly, you're going to die a virgin unless you start changing. (184.108.40.206)
Even Lola expects Oscar to be a stereotypical Dominican male. She wants to know (in so many words): Why aren't you having sex, Oscar? Aren't you a Dominican man? Everyone's great fear—at this point—is that Oscar is will die a virgin. Apparently, this has never happened to a Dominican man. Ever. In history. Ever.