The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Book 3, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Yunior tells us that this is pretty much it for his story. He, Beli and Lola fly down to claim the body, and are the only ones at Oscar’s funeral. Beli’s cancer returns the next year and she lives another ten months before giving up completely. Lola tries to convince her mother that she did all she could for Oscar, but Beli only repeats that she didn’t do enough. The family buries Beli next to Oscar.
As with the “fallout” after Abelard’s arrest, the rest of Oscar’s family deals with the reality of his death in stages. Beli holds herself responsible for Oscar’s death, perhaps because the circumstances of his death so closely matched the experience from her life. She too seemingly falls victim to the curse.
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The family tries to hire lawyers to get justice for Oscar’s murder, but nothing happens. The American embassy and Dominican government refuse to help as well. Ybón stays in her house at Mirador Norte, but La Inca moves back to Baní. Lola swears that she will never go back to the Dominican Republic, telling Yunior shortly before they break up that “Ten million Trujillos is all we are.”
The Dominican government does nothing to help the de León family deal with this tragedy, and their American citizenship has no effect either. Both of these failures cause Lola to turn away from her Dominican heritage, reducing the entire culture to the legacy of their dictator.
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
As For Us. Yunior wishes that Oscar’s death had brought him and Lola closer together, but he is too much of a mess and Lola is too busy taking care of her mother to pay him attention. After her mother dies, Lola finally gets fed up with Yunior sleeping around and breaks up with him for good. Yunior spends a year hating Lola, sleeping with as many women as possible, and hoping that he and Lola can get back together. That August, Yunior finds out from his mother that Lola has met and married a man from Miami and that she is pregnant. Yunior says that God gave him Lola when he was young so that he would know loss for the rest of his life.
Yunior’s focus returns to his relationship with Lola, something that he always put above his friendship to Oscar. Lola has enough respect for herself to break the cycle of abusive relationships that she has seen all the Dominican women around her suffer through. Yunior fails to recognize his own fault in this breakup, and then uses Lola’s rejection as a lesson that colors how he thinks about relationships in the future.
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Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
On a Super Final Note. Even years later, Yunior still dreams about Oscar. At first, the dreams place him and Oscar back at Rutgers, desperately wanting to talk, but unable to speak. Five years after Oscar’s death, the dream changes. Now, Yunior and Oscar are in an abandoned bailey (outer court of a castle) full of books and Oscar wears a mask that covers everything but his eyes. Oscar shows Yunior a blank book and his eyes are smiling. Other times, Oscar has no face at all and Yunior wakes up screaming.
Yunior emphatically ends the story many times before it really ends, just as he started the story in multiple spots. Díaz points out that any ending spot will not be the “real” end to the story, as the events here continue to affect the lives of Lola, Yunior, and Lola’s daughter. Yunior’s dreams sometimes point at this outcome, as Oscar hands Yunior a blank book that offers endless ways to fill in the pages. This dream matches Oscar’s final dreams. When Oscar has no face, however, Yunior is forced to deal with the reality of fukú or tragedy in the world.
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Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
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The Dreams. Ten years after Oscar’s death, Yunior finally decides to get his act together and find himself again. He tells Oscar “OK, Wao, Ok. You win.”
Yunior tries to avoid dealing with his own issues for years, but finally allows Oscar’s lessons to sink in.
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Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
As For Me. Now, Yunior lives in New Jersey and teaches a writing course at Middlesex Community College. It isn’t a glamorous life, or the life he dreamed of, but he actually has a wife who loves him despite his many failings. He has mostly given up chasing girls, and spends his time coaching baseball and teaching when he’s not with his wife. He also writes as much as possible, just like Oscar did. Yunior is finally a new man. 
Yunior starts to focus on his own emotional baggage without blaming his problems on the people around him. Yet he says that he “mostly” stops chasing girls, as if he still can’t quite imagine a world in which he stays committed in any real way. Yunior uses writing as an emotional outlet and, like Oscar, writing shows the state of his mental health.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
As For Us. Yunior stays in touch with Lola, as Lola moved back to Paterson with her husband and young daughter. Whenever Yunior sees Lola around town in New York, her daughter Isis is with her. Lola tells her daughter to say hi to her uncle’s best friend. Lola and Yunior are on friendly terms, though Yunior still wishes that they could get back together. He has another dream that he and Lola sleep together again and he says the three magic words that save them. He always wakes up crying before he can say the words. When Yunior does see Lola in the real world, they never talk about their past together; they only talk about Oscar.
Lola’s daughter is named Isis, referencing the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom. These three things are suspiciously lacking from the de León family, and Isis may be their chance to bring balance back after years of the curse dictating events. Yunior finally accepts that he will not be the one to end the curse for the de León family, and his inability to speak three magic words recalls the three blanked-out words that the mongoose spoke to Oscar when the mongoose brought Oscar back to life. Oscar remains as the one link between Lola and Yunior.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon