Junot Díaz Drown a Struggle for Cultural Identity

2432 WordsJun 30, 201310 Pages
DÍAZ’S DROWN: A STRUGGLE FOR CULTURAL IDENTITY 1 Junot Díaz’s Drown: A Struggle for Cultural Identity Against an Unjust Society DÍAZ’S DROWN: A STRUGGLE FOR CULTURAL IDENTITY Junot Díaz’s Drown: A Struggle for Cultural Identity Against an Unjust Society Junot Díaz’s Drown is a compelling and surprising set of short stories, each affecting the reader in a different way, but all making an impression. These stories follow a variety of characters, often depicting the experience of the immigrant experience in the United States. Many themes are present throughout this collection of stories, including a struggle for cultural identity, belonging, love, and loss. According to Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (2000), “Drown chronicles the human cost…show more content…
198). 3 DÍAZ’S DROWN: A STRUGGLE FOR CULTURAL IDENTITY It is not just the language of the Dominican culture that we find characters struggling to hold onto in Díaz’s Drown. We also find that the characters walk a fine line of defining themselves as newly Dominican American, and it seems they feel pressured to leave behind their old ways and traditions to join their new society. In the short story “Fiesta, 1980,” we find many examples of the family being torn between their Dominican customs and assimilating to their new American life. This story begins with the explanation of Papi’s most prized possession: a brand-new, lime-green, Volkswagen van. Much to Yunior’s chagrin (due to the fact that he gets sick every time he rides in the vehicle), this van means a lot to Papi, because to him, it represents an American family. According to John Riofrio (2008), “it[the van] is the embracing of the American way which has reenabled Papi’s masculinity,” (p. 33). After arriving at their Tia and Tio’s home for the party, Yunior sneers at his relatives’ apartment stating, “the place had been furnished in Contemporary Dominican Tacky” (p. 32). It seems as though Yunior, after only a short period in America, is already feeling embarrassed by his culture’s traditions. This chapter of the book also discusses the betrayal of Yunior’s father to his family, by having an affair with a Puerto Rican woman, whom

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