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Literary Analysis of Junot Diaz' Wildwood

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Paolo Dinglasan

English 102

February 1, 2018

“Wildwood”

        Junot Diaz’s Wildwood is a coming of age story told through the character Lola. A teen girl who transforms into a young woman after gaining life experiences by escaping the clutches of her abusive mother. Personally, the story is very relatable to me and my own family, and many passages affected me because of that relation. The mother is not very relatable to me as she is a bad mother and that’s why I disliked her character. However, Diaz did use aspects of the mother to highlight what he is trying to say about the relationship between mothers and daughters.

In many ways, Lola is similar to my older sister. They both have a strained relationship with their mother, though not to the same degree. Both went through a punk/goth phase and changed their hair. My sister also was sent back to my family’s country of origin, the Philippines, like Lola who was sent to the Dominican Republic and they both got along well with their respective grandmothers, better than they got along with their own mothers. Since I am my sister’s younger brother, I also recognized parallels between Oscar and myself, in that our sister’s both trusted us and confided in us. Both Lola and my sister grew up and matured in their time abroad. Since there are many parallels between this story and my own life it is easy to relate to for me. Certain passages also affected me because of how it relates to my own life. For instance, when Lola claims that “If you didn’t grow up like I did then you don’t know and if you don’t know then it’s better you don’t judge. You don’t know the hold our mothers have on us.” (pg. 416) it affected me because, even though I can’t relate directly to this since I’m not a daughter, my sister would say something alike on how our mother influences her. The passages that highlight the strained relationship between Lola and her mother also affected me because I saw a similar, not as extreme, situation between my mother and sister growing up. Overall, I found the story satisfactory because of my personal comparable experiences. 

Though I can relate Lola’s side of the story with my own personal life, I did not agree with anything Lola’s mother did in the story. She is horrible. Since this is only a chapter in the book “The Brief And Wonderous Life Of Oscar Wao” it is unclear from this story alone why the mother is so terrible; but some of her actions were unforgivable and deplorable. For example, when Lola mentions that she was molested and how her mother “told [her] to shut [her] mouth and stop crying and [she] did exactly that” (417) it’s appalling. The lack of support she gave Lola in the aftermath of a very traumatizing event typifies how poor of a mother she is. The mother is physically, and emotionally abusive which is why I extremely disliked her. It doesn’t seem like La Inca was ever so abusive to the mother because she shows nothing but love to Lola and only mentions once that the mother was “hard-headed.” The mother did have a very hard life growing up in the Dominican Republic because it’s stated that she was “beaten, set on fire, and left to die” (417) which explains why she is so horrible to her daughter since the world had been horrible to her. The mother seems to also be unsatisfied with her own life as the father of her children left her, she works two to three jobs and her only seemingly moments of happiness are when she’s watching novellas. Lola’s mother feels unfulfilled and unhappy with her life and takes it out on her children. This is why she is not supportive of them and is so harsh to them because she may be thinking that she is preparing them for the real world. She even tells Lola that “[she] has no idea what life really is” (417) which indicates that she is trying to prepare Lola for ‘real life.’

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