The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral Character Analysis

Known as Beli for most of her story, she is the mother of Oscar and Lola and the first member of the Cabral family to leave Santo Domingo and make a new life in Paterson, New Jersey. Due to the family curse, which her father Abelard brought on the Cabral family, Beli grew up in poverty but always kept the attitude of Dominican royalty. Her incredible beauty draws the attention of the wrong men and earns her a life-threatening beating by members of Trujillo’s government. She leaves Santo Domingo in disgrace and grows embittered at the hardships of immigrant life in the United States. She is very strict with her children, but is also extremely proud of them. Her fight against breast cancer further strains her relationship with her children, but she eventually reconnects with her daughter Lola in the wake of Oscar’s death.

Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral Quotes in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao quotes below are all either spoken by Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral or refer to Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral. 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

Jesus Christ, he whispered. I'm a Morlock. The next day at breakfast he asked his mother: Am I ugly? She sighed. Well, hijo, you certainly don’t take after me. Dominican parents! You got to love them!

Related Characters: Oscar de León (Oscar Wao) (speaker), Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral (speaker)
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

You don’t know the hold our mothers have on us, even the ones that are never around—especially the ones that are never around. What it's like to be the perfect Dominican daughter, which is just a nice way of saying a perfect Dominican slave.

Related Characters: Lola de León (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral
Page Number: 55-56
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

a girl so tall your leg bones ached just looking at her
so dark it was as if the Creatrix had, in her making, blinked
who, like her yet-to-be-born daughter, would come to exhibit a particularly Jersey malaise—the inextinguishable longing for elsewhere.

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral
Related Symbols: Blackness
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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Pujols, it seems, had promised Belicia that they would be married as soon as they'd both finished high school, and Beli had believed him, hook, line, and sinker. Hard to square her credulity with the hardnosed no-nonsense femme-matador I'd come to know, but one must remember: she was young and in love. Talk about fantasist: the girl sincerely believed that Jack would be true.

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral, Jack Pujols
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

…you could argue that the Gangster adored our girl and that adoration was one of the greatest gifts anybody had ever given her. It felt unbelievably good to Beli, shook her to her core. (For the first time I actually felt like I owned my skin, like it was me and I was it.)

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral (speaker), The Gangster
Related Symbols: Blackness
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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All those people have families, you can tell by their faces, they have families that depend on them and that they depend on, and for some of them this is good, and for some of them this is bad. But it all amounts to the same shit because there isn’t one of them who is free. They can’t do what they want to do or be who they should be. I might have no one in the world, but at least I'm free. She had never heard anyone say those words. I’m free wasn’t a popular refrain in the Era of Trujillo.

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), The Gangster (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Don’t laugh, mi negrita, for your world is about to be changed. Utterly. Yes: a terrible beauty is etc., etc. Take it from me. You laugh because you've been ransacked to the limit of your soul, because your lover betrayed you almost unto death, because your first son was neverborn. You laugh because you have no front teeth and you've sworn never to smile again.

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

That's the kind of culture I belong to: people took their child's black complexion as an ill omen.

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral
Related Symbols: Blackness
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:

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In fact, I believe that, barring a couple of key moments, Beli never thought about that life again. Embraced the amnesia that was so common throughout the Islands, five parts denial, five parts negative hallucination. Embraced the power of the Untilles. And from it forged herself anew.

Related Characters: Yunior (The Narrator) (speaker), Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral
Related Symbols: Páginas en blanco (Blank pages)
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral Character Timeline in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The timeline below shows where the character Beli (Hypatia Belicia) Cabral 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
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...but she lets him down easy. His graduation from Don Bosco is a subdued affair. Oscar’s mother is exhausted from her battle against cancer, his uncle Rodolfo is high on heroin, and... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2: Wildwood (1982-1985)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
...of change in her life. Lola remembers the sick feeling of finding a lump in her mother ’s breast, even as she also resents her mother’s harsh control on her life. Lola... (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
Lola moves further back in time to describe the events that led her to burn her mother ’s wig. Lola explains her strained relationship with her mother and the suffocating life under... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Though Lola feels guilty and ungrateful for everything her mother sacrificed to raise her and Oscar, she continues to assert her own personality, despite the... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...to move in with him three times, but she does not agree until she and her mother reach the final breaking point. When Lola insults her mother after she announces that the... (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
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...skinny now that he has no one to cook for him, and she dreams of her mother shrinking small enough to fit into her own hand. Lola wants to leave, but is... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...the coffee shop to find that Oscar is fatter than ever, and that he told their mother about the meeting. Their mother ambushes Lola and grabs hold of her, but Lola manages... (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
...Dominican girl.” She also gets along much better with her great-aunt, La Inca, than with her mother . Lola starts to think about staying in the DR for another year. She even... (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
...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, and says that they too struggled... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3: The Three Heartbreaks of Belicia Cabral (1955-1962)
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
...back in the family timeline to tell the story of Oscar and Lola’s mother, Hypatia Belicia Cabral. He describes her as a Dominican princess, with a beautiful body, dark skin, and... (full context)
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... (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 her life. The... (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... (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
Beli is completely ignored at school, and forced to sit next to Wei, a Chinese girl... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Beli dreams of the day that Jack Pujols will whisk her off to France, like the... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Kimota! Despite the difficulties facing Beli’s search for love, she finds her first love. (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...demonizing brush as Trujillo. As loud-mouthed, cocky, and misguided as Jack Pujols is, he is Beli’s first love and her first heartbreak. She displays her love by constantly running into him... (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
Beli is completely invisible to Jack Pujols until she matures into her adult body, an experience... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Hunt the Light Knight. Newly confident from the changes that had taken place that summer, Beli returns to school determined to catch Jack Pujols’ eye, with a frenzy comparable to Ahab’s... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Though Beli mopes over Jack Pujols’ lack of interest, her grades are actually better than ever and... (full context)
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
That October, Jack Pujols breaks up with his previous girlfriend and stops Beli in the hallway. He calls her beautiful, and just like that they are dating. He... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Amor! (Love!). While Beli later remembers the brief romance between her and Jack through rose colored glasses, it is... (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
Beli feels no embarrassment at the discovery, insisting that she and Jack share true love and... (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
Working as a waitress is not glamorous, but 14-year-old Beli takes to it easily. The owners of the Chinese restaurant, Juan and José Then, are... (full context)
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Beli has many admirers at the restaurant, though few act on their affections for fear of... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...the Then brothers and Arquimedes that the fallout will be worse than the administration itself. Beli tells them all that their concerns are ridiculous, and the narrator reveals that Arquimedes indeed... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
El Hollywood. Beli feels out of place at the club, as it is her first time, but she... (full context)
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
The Gangster We’ve All Been Waiting For. It’s unclear how much Beli knew of the Gangster’s work, but the narrator tells us that he was one of... (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
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Once Beli has decided to love the Gangster, she loves as hard as her son (Oscar) will... (full context)
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
Reality continues despite Beli’s romantic fantasy, and soon the Gangster is disappearing suddenly on business, returning late and in... (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
A month before everything falls apart, Beli and the Gangster have one last vacation in Samaná. In a footnote, the narrator reveals... (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 the wedding and future... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Name Game. That night, in a love motel, Beli and the Gangster argue about the baby’s name. Beli wants to name him Abelard for... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Truth and Consequences 1. Beli’s pregnancy and the impending fall of the Trujillo regime coincide to destroy the Gangster’s world.... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...of the Jacaranda. At the order of la Fea, the Gangster’s wife, two thugs grab Beli as she is walking in the park one day. La Fea appears out of the... (full context)
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Hesitation. After getting home, Beli waits to see the Gangster one last time instead of leaving Santo Domingo for good.... (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 the “Doom of the Cabrals” has found Beli at... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Choices and Consequences. The thugs drive Beli into one of the cane fields that used to be plentiful in the DR. As... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
The thugs leave Beli for dead, but the narrator says that, in the strangest part of his tale, a... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
...vs. Zafa. Many in the neighborhood say the 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... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Back Among the Living. Beli is unconscious for five days, and the doctors remain unoptimistic that she will recover, but... (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’s own health begins to decline somewhat after all the energy she spent nursing Beli back to life. The DR is reeling from the upheaval of Trujillo’s death, a situation... (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
The Last Days of the Republic. In her final months of recuperation, Beli does little besides long for the Gangster and succumb to the “Darkness” as she prepares... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 4: Sentimental Education (1988-1992)
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...she remains cold and blames Yunior for not looking out for her brother. Lola and Beli take Oscar home to Paterson and Yunior goes home, reluctantly, to his family. Yunior calls... (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
...not want to return to Paterson, or the United States at all. La Inca and Lola’s mother order her to return anyway, and Lola feels completely betrayed, saying that “I wouldn’t feel... (full context)
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
Lola’s mother comes to pick her up, and Lola is surprised by how thin and tired her... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Lola cries for Max as she and her mother get on the plane to New York, saying that she continued to atone for Max’s... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5: Poor Abelard (1944-1946)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...Abelard’s third daughter, who was born with pitch-black skin. Socorro committed suicide two months after Beli was born, and the three Cabral daughters were sent away to relatives. Lydia, Abelard’s mistress,... (full context)
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
The Third and Final Daughter. Yunior now circles back to Beli’s fate in all of this madness. Beli was left with a wet-nurse after everyone in... (full context)
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Yunior describes Outer Azua, the neighborhood that Beli now lives in, as the biggest wasteland and the poorest neighborhood in all of the... (full context)
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Forget-Me-Naut. Beli never speaks of the nine years she spent in Outer Azua, preferring to start anew... (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 and comports herself with behavior... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6: Land of the Lost (1992-1995)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Art, Life, and Latinos in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
The Dark Age. After graduation, Oscar moves back home with his mother and futilely looks for a job in a post-Reagan economy. He starts substitute teaching at... (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
...very well either. Lola gave up on Japan to move to New York with Yunior, Oscar’s mother is still working too hard, and his uncle Rodolfo has started using heroin again. Oscar... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...Takes a Vacation. After Oscar has been a teacher at Don Bosco for three years, his mother decides it is time to go back to Santo Domingo, and she takes Oscar with... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...as fit as ever, welcomes Oscar home with a kiss and cries when she sees Beli home again at last. Oscar adjusts to the DR again, especially the abundance of beautiful... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...about her life. Oscar thinks she is fascinating, if eccentric, and falls hard for her. Beli and La Inca are furious at Ybón’s profession, but Oscar argues that there is more... (full context)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...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 feeling of... (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)
Free Will and Destiny Theme Icon
Alive. As soon as Oscar is able to travel, Beli arranges a plane flight home to Paterson. Oscar insists that he wants to stay to... (full context)
Story, History, and Writing Theme Icon
Dominican American Culture, Colonialism, and Racism Theme Icon
...her car isn’t there. Finally, three days after the beating, Ybón comes to visit Oscar. Beli calls Ybón a puta, but Ybón ignores Beli and goes to Oscar. She is wearing... (full context)
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Lola meets Beli and Oscar at the airport, crying when she sees the damage all over Oscar’s face.... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 7: The Final Voyage
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Love and Loss 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... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 8: The End of the Story
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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... (full context)
Identity and the Dominican Experience in America Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...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... (full context)