What is the effect of this seamless blending of Spanish and English?
READ CHAPTERS 1-2 AND ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
- The book centers on the story of Oscar and his family—and yet the majority of the book is narrated by Yunior, who is not part of the family, and who, at first, only plays a relatively minor role in the events of the story. Yunior even calls himself “The Watcher,” underscoring his outsider status in the story. What is the effect of having a relative outsider tell the story of Oscar and his family, rather than having someone in the family tell it (though we do hear from Lola as well)?
- With that in mind, how does the story change when Lola is narrating in the 2nd chapter?
- Throughout the novel, Spanish words and phrases appear unaccompanied by their English translations. What is the effect of this seamless blending of Spanish and English? How would the novel have been different if Díaz had stopped to provide English translations at every turn? Why does Díaz not italicize the Spanish words (the way foreign words are usually italicized in English-language text)?
- Oscar represents the opposite of what the more macho Dominican male is expected to be. Describe a time in your life in which you felt like you didn’t live up to a particular archetype or standard of cultural behavior, whether imposed upon you by culture, family, friends, etc.