The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Díaz
The Supernatural Quotes in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Chapter.Section.Paragraph), (Act.Special Chapter.Paragraph)
They say it first came from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles. Fukú americanus, or more colloquially, fukú—generally a curse or a doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World. (1.preface.1)
This novel talks a lot about fukú, a curse that seems to strike at a number of levels. Fukú can strike one person (our friend Oscar Wao), a whole family (the de León family), a nation (the Dominican Republic), or even an entire region (the New World). In this paragraph, Díaz introduces the idea of fukú. At this point, it seems like the fukú is general to the New World. Later, we'll see how it has affected Oscar in particular.
It's perfectly fine if you don't believe in these "superstitions." In fact, it's better than fine—it's perfect. Because no matter what you believe, fukú believes in you. (1.preface.6)
It seems like a lot of folks in the Dominican Republic believe in fukú. Some don't, however, and consider fukú to be a superstition. Our narrator reminds us that no matter what you believe, fukú still exists. Yunior will spend the rest of the novel trying to convince you that fukú exists. And that it can do some serious damage.
But that's not what I wanted to tell you. It's about that crazy feeling that started this whole mess, the bruja [witch] feeling that comes singing out of my bones, that takes hold of me the way blood seizes cotton. The feeling that tells me that everything in my life is about to change. (126.96.36.199
One way to interpret this paragraph is to say that Lola is restless simply because she's an adolescent. It's a turbulent time for her. She's going through a lot of changes. Or you could point to the supernatural and say, "No. This isn't your everyday pubescent anxiety." It's a "bruja [witch] feeling" that comes over Lola (188.8.131.52). Right. Why call it puberty when you can call it witchcraft?