Study Guide

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Act 2, Preface

By Junot Díaz

Act 2, Preface

  • Just so you know, Lola narrates the Preface. Just go with it.
  • After fourteen months in Santo Domingo, La Inca tells Lola that it's time for her to go home.
  • Lola is not happy.
  • She quits the track team, stops going to class, and breaks up with her sweetheart boyfriend Max.
  • She starts having sex with her friend's father. Not the best idea, Lola. Come on.
  • He's a politician and a peledeísta (a member of the Democratic Liberation Party).
  • This politican guy is really into Lola. But he's not so into her demand, after they have sex, for $2,000. But he gives it to her, and then he and Lola have sex nine more times. So Lola figures he got a square deal anyway.
  • Then La Inca gets everything ready for Lola's trip home. Lola doesn't talk to her at all.
  • Lola puts the $2,000 under her bed and daydreams about running away to Japan or Goa or anywhere, really.
  • Then Lola's mom shows up.
  • As Lola says, "She never did anything quiet, my mother" (2.preface.1.26). We agree. Beli shows up in a flashy black town car instead of a regular taxi. Plus...
  • Though Lola is in amazing shape, her mother says this to her: "Coño, pero tú sí eres fea [Damn, you're ugly]" (2.preface.1.31).
  • Lola tells herself that she'll run away once they get to the States. But something happens. More on this in a sec.
  • Lola gives us as succinct a summary of what this novel is about: "But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in. And that's what I guess these stories are about" (2.preface.1.34-35). There you have it, Shmoopsters. The whole book in four sentences.
  • Anway, what happens to screw up Lola's escape plan? Her ex-boyfriend Max gets hit while riding his motorbike.
  • Max is Lola's sweetheart boyfriend from Santo Domingo. He zips around on his motorbike delivering film reels.
  • And one day, he gets crushed between two buses.
  • So, sweetie pea Lola gives the $2,000 to Max's mom. It does some good: Max's brother opens up a shop in Puerto Rico.
  • Then we cut back to the main narrative.
  • Lola and her mom are on the plane for New York. Lola starts bawling.
  • Beli puts her hand on Lola. It's a surprising act of tenderness from this tough-as-nails mother.
  • The woman in front of them tells Beli to keep her daughter quiet.
  • In return, Beli snaps at her. We're with you on this one, Beli; let the poor girl cry in peace.
  • The chapter ends with this tidbit of wisdom from a random dude on the plane.
  • He says to Lola: "It's OK, muchacha [girl].... Santo Domingo will always be there. It was there in the beginning and it will be there in the end" (2.preface.1.48). We couldn't have said it better ourselves.