The Man with No Face represents the “fukú” curse at work in the world. Many times when a character undergoes hardship or tragedy, they see a man with no face. Beli thinks she sees a man with no face as her relationship with the Gangster falls apart, and then has nightmares of a faceless man after she is beaten by the Trujillato. Abelard’s wife dreams of a man with no face before Trujillo targets the Cabral family. Oscar too sees the man with no face as one of his attackers in the cane field, and Yunior has nightmares of faceless men after Oscar’s death. Many characters’s faces go “blank” right before they commit an act of cruelty or violence. The man with no face is a subhuman creature that has no compassion, representing the worst side of mankind.
The Mongoose, chief agent of “zafa” (the blessing or counter-spell to the fukú), is a symbol of good at work in the world. Based on the real animal, which is culturally significant in India and much of Africa, the Mongoose represents a warrior for justice with a surprising exterior. Though the mongoose is small, it is fierce – a mongoose in the wild can easily take on a cobra. But its size is not all that is surprising about its appearance. The Mongoose’s fur is deeply, beautifully black, and therefore reclaims the power of blackness by insisting that a black being can be a hero — something usually denied by the racist culture of both America and the DR. The Mongoose appears to save both Beli and Oscar when they are on the brink of death in the cane field, helping them to realize what is truly important, to focus on their family and loved ones, and offering invaluable insight on the journey to self-actualization. The Mongoose is a natural being that is better than humanity, and represents the best that humanity has to offer.
The Mongoose and the Man with No Face Quotes in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
It's perfectly fine if you don’t believe in these "superstitions." In fact, it's better than fine—it's perfect. Because no matter what you believe, fukú believes in you.
Oscar remembers having a dream where a mongoose was chatting with him. Except the mongoose was the Mongoose. What will it be, muchacho? it demanded. More or less? And for a moment he almost said less. So tired, and so much pain – Less! Less! Less! – but then in the back of his head he remembered his family... More, he croaked. --- --- --- said the Mongoose, and then the wind swept him back into darkness.
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.