The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

La Inca Character Analysis

Beli’s aunt and Oscar’s great-aunt, La Inca took care of Beli after the death and imprisonment of her parents. La Inca owns a chain of bakeries in the Dominican Republic, and believes that Beli is worth the best education the island can offer. She offers a safe haven and support to her grandchildren Lola and Oscar when they visit, but also tries to ensure that they act like a proper Dominican family.

La Inca Quotes in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao quotes below are all either spoken by La Inca or refer to La Inca. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Riverhead Books edition of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao published in 2008.
Book 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

The trip turned out to be something of a turning point for him. Instead of discouraging his writing, chasing him out of the house like his mother used to, his abuela, Nena Inca, let him be. Allowed him to sit in the back of the house as long as he wanted, didn’t insist that he should be "out in the world."

Related Characters: Oscar de León (Oscar Wao) (speaker), La Inca (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

When Oscar visits the Dominican Republic the year before he graduates high school, he finally gets the chance to commit to his desire to be a writer. His mother and sister are not very supportive of this goal, because they have seen how people with dark skin (like Oscar) are not successful in certain jobs in the United States. La Inca, having lived her whole life in the Dominican Republic, does not have these preconceived prejudices. Furthermore, La Inca reminds Oscar of his family heritage, telling him about his grandfather Abelard who also spent long hours writing in his study when the family was rich. La Inca understands that Oscar wants to create his own fictional worlds rather than expend more energy trying to live in a world that has rejected him time and time again.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Book 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

And that's when it hit with the force of a hurricane. The feeling. I stood straight up, the way my mother always wanted me to stand up. My abuela was sitting there, forlorn, trying to cobble together the right words and I could not move or breathe. I felt like I always did at the last seconds of a race, when I was sure that I was going to explode. She was about to say something and I was waiting for whatever she was going to tell me. I was waiting to begin.

Related Characters: Lola de León (speaker), La Inca
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

Lola has always had a “witchy” feeling of premonition that warns her when bad things are about to happen to her family. Here, Lola’s family heritage is particularly present, as La Inca starts to tell her about her mother’s childhood and the past that her mother never mentions. The de León and Cabral families have a difficult family history, especially as Lola’s mother never knew her real parents. Lola previously tried to run away from her family in New Jersey, a skill that she later puts into her school’s track team once she is sent to live in the Dominican Republic. Now that she is finally finding out some of the secrets of her family’s past, however, that desire to run has seemingly reached the end of the race. Lola can stop running and start building her identity on the foundations of her family. Her witchy feeling does continue to warn that not everything Lola will find out about her family is good, but knowing her history is better than not knowing.

Book 3, Epilogue Quotes

Behold the girl: the beautiful muchachita: Lola's daughter. Dark and blindingly fast: in her great-grandmother La Inca’s words: una jurona. Could have been my daughter if I'd been smart, if I'd been ---. Makes her no less precious. She climbs trees, she rubs her butt against doorjambs, she practices malapalabras when she thinks nobody is listening. Speaks Spanish and English. Neither Captain Marvel nor Billy Batson, but the lightning.

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), La Inca, Isis
Related Symbols: The Mongoose and the Man with No Face
Page Number: 329
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the novel, Yunior describes Lola’s daughter Isis in glowing terms, as if she were his own. Yunior will clearly always love Lola and has great tenderness for Isis, and even believes that he could have been Isis’ father if only he had possessed some quality that he either won’t or can’t share with us. Yunio leaves one more blank space in the novel, as he still does not fully understand the Dominican heritage that keeps him from committing to an authentic relationship with Lola. Isis, on the other hand, speaks Spanish and English, suggesting hope for an identity that fuses the Dominican and American backgrounds that Yunior cannot reconcile.

Yet Isis is more symbol than girl. La Inca calls her una jurona (Spanish for ferret), an animal very similar to the Mongoose that grants zafa (blessing) when characters are about to be overcome by the fukú curse. Isis is by no means perfect, engaging in the mischievous behaviors of a spunky little girl, but she also has the dark skin and quick speed that the Mongoose had in the cane field where it saved Oscar and Beli’s lives. Isis is not like Captain Marvel, a superhero who can save the world, or Billy Batson, Captain marvel’s ordinary human host, but she is the lightning, the thing that allows ordinary people to become extraordinary. Yunior believes that, through Isis, the de León family will finally be healed.

Get the entire Oscar Wao LitChart as a printable PDF.
The brief wondrous life of oscar wao.pdf.medium

La Inca Character Timeline in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The timeline below shows where the character La Inca appears in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 1: Ghetto Nerd at the End of the World (1974-1987)
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
That summer, Oscar and Lola go to Santo Domingo, the capital of the DR. La Inca , their great aunt, lets Oscar stay inside and try to become a “real writer.”... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2: Wildwood (1982-1985)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Lola is sent to Santo Domingo with La Inca for the next year, so that she can’t run away. She likes school there well... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...telling her to run away again, but she can’t bring herself to leave her great-aunt, La Inca . She also starts dating a boy named Max, enamored with his job running film... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...for her. Lola thinks about how much she appreciates the older woman’s strength and acceptance. La Inca is looking at pictures of Lola’s mother. She tells Lola how beautiful her mother was,... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3: The Three Heartbreaks of Belicia Cabral (1955-1962)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Under the Sea. Hypatia Belicia, called Beli, lives with her aunt La Inca in Baní, one of the poorer neighborhoods of Santo Domingo. The narrator distinguishes the peaceful... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Despite how La Inca spoils her, Beli has an unquenchable thirst for change, constantly straining against the bounds of... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
La Chica de Mi Escuela (The Girl from My School). When Beli is 13, La Inca gets her a scholarship to the best private school on the island, called El Redentor.... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...the “Lost Years,” makes it hard for Beli to focus and her grades suffer. Though La Inca wants Beli to become a doctor, Beli cares more about boys at school than she... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...Beli was growing up, but that she was more “boy-crazy” than any of her friends. La Inca warns her that boys will never solve problems, but Beli remains single-minded. However, no boy... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...love and that Jack had promised to marry her. No one, from her teachers to La Inca , can get Beli to admit she was wrong. La Inca still can’t bring herself... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...the tougher José. She enjoys her job there, garnering much affection from the male patrons. La Inca comes to the restaurant to try to shame Beli into quitting, but Beli knows this... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...thinks about this man, who’s known as The Gangster, all the next week. She ignores La Inca ’s anger that she even went to a club, and talks about nothing but the... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...no face in front of one of the shacks they pass. She gets back to La Inca ’s house and realizes she is pregnant. (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Revelation. La Inca is horrified at Beli’s pregnancy, but Beli is ecstatic, thinking that a baby will ensure... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
La Inca , the Divine. When La Inca hears that Beli has been taken, she knows that... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...speak of. Beli tries to keep up hope that the Gangster will save her, that La Inca will save her, that someone will come, but survives alone through sheer force of will. (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
...beating was proof of the fukú on Beli’s family, while other say her survival, and La Inca ’s connections in the medical community, are proof that the family is blessed. La Inca,... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
La Inca in Decline. La Inca’s own health begins to decline somewhat after all the energy she... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
...leave Santo Domingo. She has nightmares of the thugs and leaves all travel planning to La Inca while she floats through her days. She manages to see the Gangster one last time,... (full context)
Book 2, Preface
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...preface, returning to Lola’s point of view. At the end of Lola’s year living with La Inca in Santo Domingo, she does not want to return to Paterson, or the United States... (full context)
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...about making herself into a whore, but she feels no shame for using this man. La Inca and Oscar try to keep Lola in good spirits, but Lola only dreams about using... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5: Poor Abelard (1944-1946)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Many people speculate whether Abelard actually said anything treasonous about Trujillo. La Inca insists that Abelard did nothing wrong, and was simply framed by enemies of the family,... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
The Burning. In 1955, La Inca hears rumors that the last Cabral daughter is still alive. La Inca was too grief-stricken... (full context)
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...in, as the biggest wasteland and the poorest neighborhood in all of the Dominican Republic. La Inca knows she has to rescue this child if she really is the last Cabral, and... (full context)
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Sanctuary. La Inca becomes the mother that Beli never had, and makes sure she gets a proper education... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6: Land of the Lost (1992-1995)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...touches ground. Santo Domingo has been arising anew from the ashes of Trujillo’s Era, and La Inca has done very well with her bakeries, and has decided to move to a nicer... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
La Beba (Babygirl). Ybón, a gorgeously golden-skinned middle-aged woman, lives two houses over from La Inca , and has just returned from working in Europe. Ybón asks Oscar what he’s reading,... (full context)
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...and spends all his time at Ybón’s house, even when he knows she’ll be working. La Inca is still angry, but one of Oscar’s uncles is ecstatic that Oscar is finally a... (full context)
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
La Inca Speaks. La Inca gets one small paragraph of narration, to say that Oscar did not... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...Two days later, Oscar’s uncle shows Oscar bullet holes on the side of their house. La Inca and Beli try to get Oscar to heed the warning, and Oscar feels a strange... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dead or Alive. The doctors catalogue Oscar’s injuries and La Inca and Beli begin to pray. Each refuses to acknowledge the similarity to Beli’s past experience. (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 7: The Final Voyage
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
...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... (full context)
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
Curse of the Caribbean. Oscar stays at La Inca ’s house for 27 days, researching and writing a book about his family and waiting... (full context)
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 8: The End of the Story
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
...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... (full context)
Book 3, Epilogue
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...describes Isis as the daughter he could have had: dark-skinned, quick-witted, and mischievous, a girl La Inca calls a jurona (ferret). Isis wears three azabaches (amulets) around her neck for protection and... (full context)