Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/School/Program

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.

Share

COinS