"The Pages Are Blank": Narrative Stagnancy and Rescripting through Fukú and Zafa in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Opening ParagraphThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao employs various semisupernatural elements to recount the life of Oscar de Léon, the dominant of these being "fukú americanus," or única, "the Curse and the Doom of the New World". Fukú unifies the narrative in much the same way that it unifies the Cabral family, and, on a larger scale, all oppressed peoples. In this paper, I offer an explanation of what fukú represents, borrowing in part from Gonzalez' understanding of fukú as a power dynamic that prescribes certain realities. However, I offer fukú as less of an explicit exertion of power, as is Gonzalez' position, and more as a function of narrative construction and reconstruction in the lives of those who are subject to such power. In this paper, I will argue that fukú is at work in the lives of Dominican people when they enter into an acceptance that their misfortune, imparted on them by such executions of power, is inevitable and enduring. To do so, I will first describe the nature of the curse in the novel before outlining briefly the arguments of Bautista and Gonzalez regarding the symbolism of fukú so that I can establish firmly a conceptual basis on which my own interpretation will rest. I will then describe the realities that such power exertions create and to which Dominican people are uniquely subject in order to ultimately arrive at my conclusion that fukú is a resignation to these realities.