Study Guide

Comedic Duos in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

By Junot Díaz

Comedic Duos

Díaz has a weakness for comedic duos. Check these guys out.

Solomon Grundy and Gorilla Grod

These two dunces take orders from Ybón's capitán. There's no way to tell them apart. They appear only twice in the novel, and it's not to do charity work. They administer Oscar's first beatdown, and then they murder Oscar.

The word sadistic comes to mind.

But they're also really witty guys, and they say some funny stuff while administering their beatdowns. While it's clear that Díaz loves his comedic couples, there's more going with Grod and Grundy. They make violent oppression seem kind of lighthearted. Maybe even normal.

Now, pinch yourself. Oppression is none of these things.

Elvis One and Elvis Two

These two goons work for Trujillo's sister. As far as we can tell, there's not much difference between these guys and Solomon Grundy and Gorilla Grod (see above). Elvis One and Elvis Two put the hurt on Beli after she tells The Gangster that she's pregnant.

Oh, maybe there is a major difference between the Elvises and Grundy and Grod: these guys actually look like Elvis.

Al and Miggs

Usually, a nerd has his a small group of constant companions. That's the trade-off, right? A nerd might not be popular, but at least he has some solid friends. Unfortunately for our man Oscar, Al and Miggs are not solid friends.

For a while, they seem like Oscar's boys. Then they get girlfriends during their senior year in high school, and they're suddenly embarrassed by Oscar. Oscar stops hanging out with them when he returns from his summer trip to the Dominican Republic.

They must lose touch with Oscar because these two goofs don't even come to Oscar's funeral. They function as another comedic pair in the novel, much like Grundy and Grod and the Elvises. Only you wouldn't catch Al and Miggs giving any beatdowns.

The Palacio Peking Crew

Although Díaz describes the two owners of the Palacio Peking in detail, they tend to blend together like the other comic pairs in the novel: Al and Miggs, the Elvises, or Grod and Grundy. The brothers hire Beli at the PP out of generosity.

Beli works hard, and the brothers treat her well. They even rescue Beli when Trujillo's sister tries to kidnap her. These guys are stand-up employers.

Of the other folks at the PP—Lillian, Indian Benny, Marco Antonio, and Constantina—only Constantina really plays a role in the plot. Don't get us wrong. Díaz sketches skillful portraits of the PP folks. But they don't play major roles in the novel's main events.

Constantina is basically a party girl. Her confidence rubs off on Beli and, with Constantina's help, Beli finally forgets Jack Pujols. To help Beli forget Jack, Constantina takes Beli to the nightclub El Hollywood. There, Beli meets The Gangster. Cue dramatic music.