What Can we learn about Latinos in the United States based on this section of the book?
Book: The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
So far, I have been introduced to a Dominican boy growing up in the “hood”. His name is Oscar. The book has a lot of slang and spanish terms I have had to look up (and now I know why they were in spanish). I know how it goes, growing up in a (for lack of a better word) ghetto neighborhood. Its usually one general minority group on ‘this’ side, and another group on the ‘that’ side- the book describs that well. Growing up, race is your identity. You were raised to always be proud of it, no matter how many ‘gringos’ looked down on you. In this book so far, race has been a prevident trait of Oscar.
Also, family has shown a large importance so far. Although Oscar has proven to be an introvert and disrespectful to his parents, they still love and care for him. Growing up in a large latino family, Oscar has tried to avoid the “typical Dominican teenage lifestyle” by staying to himself and not “going out”.
So far, there is not much I can conclude. I am not that far into the book, and so far, if I were to “generalize” I would have to say that this particular situation has told me that the ghetto lifestyle is all there is.
Focusing on Page 66 : “Thats white people for you. They lose a cat and its all-points bulletin, but we Dominicans, we lose a daughter and we might not even cancel our appointment at the salon.”
This just sums it up. I was really looking for a point in the book to sum up what I have been trying to say, and I have found it!
It is really prevalent that the Latino culture is just different from the modern American norms. I think that they are really just trying to preserve their heritage. Kind of like, ‘we didn’t do it there so, why should we do it here?’ sort of thing.
Dominance and respect is a big factor in family life. Oscar’s mom doesn’t put up with anything because I think that she is really just trying to show that she can still be “jefe” as a single mom. I think that the mom is just really striving to show that she can handle ‘it’.
So this passage really demonstrates how she stuck to her guns. The mother didn’t even attempt to look for her daughter. I think that it was the mother’s way of “letting go” and trusting that the daughter would be okay on her own. That’s the thing. Even in my own home, I always felt that the “white” kids were better off, family wise. Our family is tight and whatever- but a lot is expected of us. Maybe its the same with this family. A lot is expected- well, just a lot of pressure is just put on them that they will do better. That all the hard work that their parents put into raising them in America won’t go to waste.
Why is there such a big difference (culturally) between how “white” and “colored” kids are raised? I have noticed that there is a trend amongst many of the (minority) races on how to raise kids. Is that just because that is “the way it is?”
By this point in the book, you have been introduced to Oscar’s Sister and Mother. Basically, they tell the same story but from their perspective.
When comparing the sections, I found that gender and age were big determining factors in the perspective of the characters.
As a teenage girl, Lola felt that she was very underappreciated and over depended on- so she ran away. Some examples of her “feelings” came from her having to take care of her brother (from a very young age) while her mother was working two jobs, and when Oscar was of age, she shaved her head and decided to give up on her mom, because she was “..done. Over. Thats it.” (Page 73). I am wondering though, why Lola ran away when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Why would she run away when her mom needed her most?
Lola’s Mother however, showed to be the same way as a girl. She was very independent like Lola, and because of this reason, I think that is why she was so tolerant of Lola’s ridiculous rebellion. It turns out that the Mother’s mom sort of “disowned her” as well. (I wonder if that is a recurring theme in this family.)
Why in this family is there a recurring theme of disownership?
Why might some dominican families put a lot of responsibility on their kids?