The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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

Summary
Analysis
Yunior brings us to January after Oscar returns from his beating in the Dominican Republic, as Yunior and Lola are living in separate apartments in Washington Heights. Though they are technically still boyfriend and girlfriend, Yunior’s inability to stay monogamous is destroying their relationship.
Lola and Yunior’s romantic arc runs under the surface of the novel. Yunior never explains why he is so drawn to both de León siblings, but is at least able to name his attraction to Lola, whereas he never fully accepts his platonic affection for Oscar. Labeling his relationship to Lola does not stop him from undermining their connection, though, as he continues to cheat.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Oscar comes to see Yunior, still recovering but doing much better. Oscar tells Yunior that he will be returning to Don Bosco soon. Yunior notices that Oscar seems at peace, finally, and that he is nearly thin. Oscar talks about his writing, and his attempts to pare down his book collection so that he can move out of Paterson.
Oscar is writing again, a sure sign that his mental health is improving and his physical health is in a good place as well. Though Beli fell apart after she was beaten, Oscar actually seems to have pulled his life together. Yet this is sadly reminiscent of Abelard’s supposed success before he is arrested, so Oscar is not yet safe either.
Themes
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Oscar gets to the main reason for his visit: he needs to borrow money from Yunior. Oscar tells Yunior that he needs enough for a security deposit for an apartment in Brooklyn. Out of a guilty conscience, Yunior agrees to give Oscar anything he wants. Oscar and Yunior smoke and talk about why Yunior cannot stop cheating on Lola. Yunior insists that he doesn’t know. Oscar advises Yunior to try to find out why he sleeps around so much, and then leaves, saying he has a date. That Saturday, Yunior finds out that Oscar is gone.
Though Yunior immediately agrees to give Oscar money for an apartment, he admits in the narration that he should have seen that Oscar was planning to use the money for something else. The narration also looks back at Yunior’s habit of cheating on Lola with contempt. Yunior as the narrator clearly knows that he is dealing with his own lack of confidence and feelings of unworthiness by depending on the affection of many women, but he is not mature enough to recognize this at the time. Oscar, however, knows what he wants and takes steps to get it by returning to the DR.
Themes
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon