Not so Wondrous: the Effects of a Brutal Dictatorial Essay

2173 Words Oct 5th, 2014 9 Pages
Not So Wondrous: The effects of a brutal dictatorial regime illustrated by Junot Diaz

The brutality of the Trujillo Regime lasted for thirty years. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was named the ruler of the Dominican Republic in 1930, and continued his tyranny until his assassination in 1961. El Jefe, as he was often referred to, (meaning “the boss”) was originally an army general, and took power as a dictator following the rule and overthrow of Horacio Vasquez. Under Trujillo’s rule, the intense violence in the country became overwhelming. Though he officially stepped down as president almost ten years before his assassination, he continued his command as an unelected military dictator (“History of the Dominican Republic”).
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Though much of Diaz’ novel is filled with humorous descriptions of the protagonist, Oscar, playful slang and sarcastic comments, the undertones referencing the cruelty of the Trujillo Regime are undeniable. Jim Hannan, when reviewing the novel, described the story as: …a biting and justifiably angry portrait…of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic…despite the sarcasm and grim humor that run throughout this novel, it is often a book of horrors. The sections on Trujillo’s reign- his abuse of girls and women, and his ruthless imprisonment, torture, and murder of opponents…become increasingly chilling. (Hannan)

Hannan’s argument that the book is more about violence and less about Oscar is supported over and over throughout the novel. Diaz, both subtly and obviously, depicts violence, and almost every character deals with it at some point in the story. The most barbaric examples of this violence surface with the beating of Oscar’s mother, Belicia Cabral, and the abuse and murder of Oscar himself. The third chapter revolves around the life of Belicia Cabral, describing her physical transformation into an unbelievably beautiful woman and her relationships with men. Eventually, Beli becomes involved with a man often referred to in the story as “The Gangster.” Their affair lasts for months, and Beli becomes pregnant with his child. Only then, does the reader find out that the Gangster is

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