The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Book 3, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Oscar touches down in Santo Domingo once more, this time clapping along with the other passengers once the plane lands. He calls Clives to pick him up and take him to Ybón’s house. They wait for Ybón, and Oscar considers letting her go, but then she pulls up and Oscar knows that he still loves her.
Oscar’s applause shows that Ybón has finally given him a reason to celebrate his homeland. However, the Chapter title “The Final Voyage” makes it clear that Oscar will not return. Love causes Oscar to act in irrational and uncontrollable ways. As he will not give up Ybón, we know that it is only a matter of time before the Capitán fulfills his promise to kill Oscar.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Ybón calls Oscar mi amor (my love) and tells him to leave immediately, but Oscar professes his immense love for her, and asks for just one week together so he can finally be happy. Ybón wavers, perhaps because she does love him, but she ultimately knows that the Capitán would never allow them to live after an offense like that. She again tells Oscar to go, but Oscar refuses and lets himself into La Inca’s house to stay. La Inca is surprised to find Oscar at her house, looking through her old photographs. Oscar writes to Lola, saying that the whole situation is hard to explain.
Once again, Oscar chooses to ignore his love interest’s desires to continue pursuing what he wants. Admittedly, however, Ybón sends mixed signals. Though Ybón adamantly tells Oscar to leave, she also calls him pet names that he hears as encouragement to stay. It seems as though Oscar came back not just for Ybón, but also to find out more about his family now that he finally feels connected to his heritage.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Curse of the Caribbean. Oscar stays at La Inca’s house for 27 days, researching and writing a book about his family and waiting for Ybón. He follows her around town, even though Ybón is terrified that the Capitán will punish them both. Oscar delivers love letters to Ybón, earning him nothing but death threats from the Capitán and notes from Ybón begging him to go home. Oscar writes Ybón that he is home. When Ybón tells him to go back to his real home, Oscar asks her why a person can’t have two.
Though Oscar writes elaborate letters of his love for Ybón, he apparently does not care enough about Ybón’s fear to stop exacerbating the tense situation with the Capitán. Obviously, the Capitán is worse at fault for treating Ybón like property, but Oscar does not respect her wishes either. Still, Ybón’s love has helped Oscar reconcile the two separate halves of his identity. Oscar does not to pick either American or Dominican; he wants to belong to both.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Nineteen days after Oscar arrives back in the DR, Ybón sneaks out on a date with him. The whole family is aghast at this development. Lola flies to the island to make Oscar come home, but Oscar tells her that she doesn’t understand. La Inca tries to use some of her supernatural Power to keep Oscar away from Ybón, but Oscar resists with Power of his own. Beli flies down, two weeks after Oscar went to the DR, and tries to force Oscar to come home. Oscar simply says that he can’t, and that he truly isn’t trying to get himself killed. Even Yunior flies down at Lola’s request, but nothing can convince Oscar to leave.
Though the de León family is not often explicit in their affection, they are strongly supportive of each other in a crisis. Oscar chooses romantic love with Ybón instead of appreciating the familial love that he already has, heightening the tragedy of his inevitable death. Yet though Oscar’s choices will end in pain, he has found his own strength by learning how to fight for Ybón.
Themes
Love and Loss Theme Icon
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The Last Days of Oscar Wao. Oscar writes almost 300 pages during the 27 days he waits for Ybón. He tells Yunior to wait and see what he has found out. But on the 27th day, the two police officers break their way into Clives’ cab as he is giving Oscar a ride home. The officers drive Oscar back to the cane fields, where Clives begs them to spare Oscar’s life, but the officers just laugh. Oscar laughs too and tells Clives not to worry, because the officers are too late. They drive past a bus stop, and Oscar imagines he sees his whole family getting on a bus driven by the Mongoose, with the man with no face acting as bus conductor.
Oscar teases his groundbreaking discoveries, but leaves his book as “blank pages” again. History repeats (both familial and Oscar’s personal history) as two thugs pull Oscar over and return to the cane field. But this time, it seems as though Oscar has already accomplished whatever he needed or wanted to do back on the island. His vision of the mongoose and the man with no face suggest that the de Leóns are finally in the hands of both fukú and zafa, and that blessings have as much effect on their lives as the curse.
Themes
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Oscar begins sending telepathic goodbye messages to his mother, his uncle, Lola, and all the girls he had ever loved, as well as Ybón. The officers walk Oscar into the cane, and he tries to stand up bravely. Meanwhile, Clives slips away and later returns to deliver Oscar’s body to his family.
Oscar’s final thoughts are dedicated to all the people he loved, but he saves the very last goodbye for Ybón. Oscar’s last act of bravery is to accept his fate with honor. Clives, showcasing another small act of bravery, comes back for Oscar’s body though he cannot prevent Oscar’s death.
Themes
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Oscar begins to tell the officers in Spanish of his deep love for Ybón, and what a sin it would be to take that love out of the world. He describes the beauty, rarity, and strength of what he and Ybón share, and tells the officers that his feelings for Ybón have allowed him to place a curse on them and their families. Oscar finishes by explaining that he is now the hero he has always dreamed he would be. The officers wait politely for Oscar to finish, then tell Oscar that they’ll let him go if he tells them what “fuego” means in English. Oscar can’t see their faces, and he can’t stop himself from saying “fire.”
Oscar’s last speech in Spanish, even though he was never very comfortable with that language, both upholds love as the highest good in the world and puts a curse on anyone who tries to destroy that good. Oscar cannot uproot fukú’s hold on his own life, but he can try to be a hero and harness fukú to punish people whom he believes actually deserves to be punished. The officers use Oscar’s American identity and mastery of English against him (essentially through a cruel joke), then turn into “men with no faces” as they pull the trigger and complete fukú’s destiny for Oscar.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon