Junot Diaz Analysis

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Junot Diaz’s use of mental health issues a key part of the novel. If mental health is a taboo subject in the United States, it is ten times that in Latin American countries. Starting with Abelard’s wife, Socorro, she deals with severe anxiety. The narrator explains that Soccoro’s father, who would be Oscar’s great-grandfather, witnessed the death of his father at the hands of the state police. This caused him to become an alcoholic and Socorro to be “anxious” and she developed “the habit of waking up in the middle of the night in terror, convinced that the world was on fire” (Diaz 242). The anxiety is a byproduct of her grandfather’s murder, and it is not coincidence that thought and dreams of death plague Soccoro for her entire life. While …show more content…
Yet, despite these effects, Lola is able to handle the effects better than her brother and mother. She knows when to endure her mother’s harshness, when to console her brother and when to team up with her mother in order to encourage Oscar. Yet, as strong and even keeled as she is for most of the novel, Lola is extremely insecure because of her mother’s constant judgment and verbal abuse. Lola describes herself as “I was a fea. I was a worthless. I was an idiot” (Diaz 56). These thoughts of low self-worth can explain Lola relationship problems and acts of rebellion throughout the novel. Lola runs away from home. She shaves her head. She leaves to the Dominican Republic. She sleeps with random a random man, the charges him. These are all sings of instability which can be cause by her mother’s destructive parenting. Lola deal with the duality that her brother faces. But Lola is burdened with being the daughter in a Latin American family, meaning that she must abide by her mother’s words and demands, more so than Oscar. This makes Lola sacrifice much of what she wants to do in life. Lola wants to travel. She wants to embrace her femininity and sexuality, yet she is limited by her family. Also, being the oldest, she feels a sense of motherly responsibility for Oscar. Lola feels this conflict for most of her life, she states “like my father I would have disappeared. Like my father and never be seen again…Without a trace. I would have lived far away and been happy, I’m sure of it… I would have grown dark in the sun, no more hiding from it… but if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever” (Diaz 209). The sacrifices that Lola make are because of the duty she feels to her mother, to her brother, to her family, culture and ancestors. The duty of the first born are clear and engrained in to every Latin American family. These sacrifices while not directly connected to the

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