Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Virginia Blum

Abstract

When writing about Junot Díaz’s Drown (1996) Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) and This is How You Lose Her (2012), I focus on the iterations of masculinity depicted and embodied by Yunior de las Casas, the primary narrator of this collection. I explore the links between diaspora, hybridity, masculinity, and trauma, arguing that both socio-historical and personal traumatic experience reverberates through the psyches and bodies of Díaz’s characters. I demonstrate the relationship between Yunior’s navigation of the United States and the Dominican Republic and his ever-shifting sexuality, self-presentation, and gender identity. The physical and discursive spaces he must traverse contain multiple, contradictory narratives about how to be a man; within Díaz’s collection, we witness Yunior’s coming-to-terms with the way that these stories of masculinity are rendered dysfunctional and incoherent. Accordingly, Yunior uses the hegemonic discourses of masculinity as a way to cloak his own queer difference, ambivalently interacting and identifying with characters marked as Other. In this analysis, I read Yunior’s masculinity as reactionary to the expectations of Domincan society, and also explore how he shaped by migration, trauma, and unspeakable queer desire.