His personal background and life give strong influences in his written work. Aurora is one of the short stories from his debut short story collection, Drown The stories in Drown focus on the teenage narrator's poor, fatherless youth in the Dominican Republic and his struggle adapting to his new life in New Jersey. In the story of Aurora, the writer does not give a glorified love story, but a sad account of what often happens in everyday life. If we discuss about the plot, Aurora has a unique plot. The story is not told based on the order of time.
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The raw-edged poetic voice commands a deceptively simple immediacy from the streets of low- income urban enclaves seen through Dominican immigrant eyes. Though the culture from which this voice springs is culturally wealthy and colorful, it is otherwise sad and tragic. He was in the States, working, and the only way I knew him was through the photographs my moms kept in a plastic sandwich bag under her bed.
It was only because of that plastic bag that any pictures of my father survived. When I thought of Papi I thought of one shot specifically. Taken days before the U. These Dominican characters do not enjoy the advantages Cubans have of refugee status nor can they obtain American citizenship as effortlessly as Puerto Ricans. The Dominican culture is evident in the writing of the characters although most immigrants avoid giving themselves away as people of foreign birth. They attempt to assimilate quickly.
You spend a lot of time being colonized. How many styles, genres or literary movements, even very small ones, have only one single dream: to assume a major function in language, to offer themselves as a sort of state language, an official language […]. Create the opposite dream: know how to create a becoming-minor More concerned with the mask of tough machismo, a stereotypically traditional Dominican masculinity necessary for pushing crack, the Dominican male hero eventually gets unmasked when he truly falls in love with his drug-addicted girlfriend, the titular Aurora.
This code switching is no less a matter of drug terminology and street slang English than it is standard and slang Spanish. When their paycheck comes in a week or two later, this predatory financial service makes a quick killing from the ignorant working poor. It includes cultural references in the New Jersey neighborhood vernacular of crack dealers and Spanish idioms. The reader must decifer meaning from the unfamiliar discourse, the very sort of activity newly-arrived immigrants regularly undertake in their new American environment.
This construction is then internalized by the reader, replicating the confusing discourse experienced by immigrants. To treat their girlfriends, tough neighborhood teens deal in drugs, and the narrator reveals the multiplicity of dangers.
The machismo culture on display is rough with violence, sex and salacious scenes accompanying depictions of the consumption of narcotics that fulfills the addictive physical needs of the multitude of Dominican- born characters. The ebullient style of Lucero narrating how he deals drugs for long hours in schools is effective and realistic, and usually his customers speak Spanish.
She has sex with him whenever she was angry because of a bad basketball game. Aurora served six months in juvenile detention. During her incarceration the couple infrequently corresponded. Moreover, her body shakes because of withdrawal symptoms and the effects of immediately returning to her inveterate drug abuse. When they make love, he worries about her appearance. Lucero remains worried: the marks come either from another man or a contagious disease. Drug dealers experience a similar fear of American police.
In the absurdity of his situation, the petulant Lucero projects the brutality he knows from the Dominican authorities while waiting for Aurora outside a building.
He has an easy time torturing the old man, breaking his ankle. Compelled to wear a mask of machismo toughness on the streets and promiscuity with women , Lucero succeeds as a dealer and receives the respect of his community. As one scholar points out, The narrative often emphasizes the masks these characters must assume and maintain, to the point that maintaining the mask assumes the centrality of life and experience — a protection against life and living Paravisini-Gebert A fundamental means of survival among numerous rivals, the mask of toughness pervades many characters in the short story collection.
Lucero alone reveals himself as a man of occasional sensitivity as it regards his junkie girlfriend. Lucero himself has seen so much abysmal violence, poverty and overdosed junkies among young kids as well as adults that nothing fazes him any more, and he may become a menacing personality towards others without cause.
Still, he somehow remains sensitive to the experience and personality of Aurora who also dons a mask of her own. He valorizes her natural artistic abilities in paintings she makes on the walls inside abandoned buildings where they have had sex. When he gets lonely, he craves her and impetuously seeks her out at the Hacienda where all the other junkies hang out. I made up this whole new life in there.
You should have seen it. The two of us had kids, a big blue house, hobbies, the whole fucking thing Lucero attempts to express his desires but fails because he cannot let down his own mask, even though Aurora reveals through drawings her own desire to live elsewhere and have a family with him. Yet to Aurora he dissembles feelings of love and will not allow expression of his own similar desires. He cannot adequately explain his feelings for her because showing loving feelings is an anomaly in his machismo subculture: he has never shown such feelings for anything or anyone in his life.
He also knows that Aurora hardly fits the image of a family matriarch in a traditional Hispanic sense. Her smoking in the bathroom and me dealing to the groom. He is laughed at when he tries to reveal to his drug-dealing partner Cut his deep feelings for Aurora: If I had half a brain I would have done what Cut told me to do. Dump her sorry ass. When I told him we were in love he laughed. Losing face with Cut and the rest of his drug-dealing associates would moreover be dangerous.
This story, I would argue in contrast, does not deteriorate into violence, but simply carries on with violence and never escapes or transcends it. Lucero even refers to the violent memories with some nostalgia. Violence precedes the narrative, continues throughout the narrative and remains an unending fact of life.
What develops in spite of violence, and quite unexpectedly, is love. He is not cognizant of the mask he wears, nor does he show any fear of the unmasking of his streetwise ways. As Marjorie Garber explains, the object of desire remains potent only if veiled and therefore inaccessible Garber Yet his character is fleshed out and, except for the violence, Lucero explains his specific motives.
The ending ambiguously leads one to imagine a continuation of the drug dealing and abuse and possibly contraction of AIDS , though there may be a minute possibility of this couple changing their habits and pursuing their relationship in way transcending their abusive hyper-masculine behavior. No syncretism is permitted at the end for Lucero.
Yunior as such embodies a wretched product of post-colonialism. A weakling grandfather cannot make up for the absence of a strong father-figure. While the lost baby and scars are direct physical suffering of that invasion, the psychological damage became evident only after the apparent loss of her husband.
Instead, his father married a U. He briefly visits the Dominican Republic with his new wife but does not come inside the house and visit his first family. In spite of years without a husband, Vertudes de la Casas loyally waits. I remember the heaviness of that month, thicker than almost anything.
The usual qualities of a Latina matriarch end. After returning, Vertudes — recovered from her breakdown as well as her illusions — rejects her sons and grows physically violent with Yunior for the first time. In many other stories in the Drown story collection, there are qualifications and even cancellations of the Dominican experience, showing the unreliability of the narrative requiring readers to undertake a process of working backward, to move along from accepted truth and assumed knowledge towards contradiction and uncertainty.
His narrative style along with his commingling of two languages, chiastic structure as well as the phantasmagoria of form and sensation, all reflect the post-colonial immigrant perspectives in which assimilation and Latino machismo depict fatherless males embodying aspects of the oppressed and the oppressors alike. Bibliography Anderson, Linda.
London and New York, Routledge, Arce, Chrissy et. Deleuze, G. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, trans.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, New York: Riverhead, Du Bois, W. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Penguin Classics, Garber, Marjorie. Aram Veeser ed. New York: Routledge, Ibarrola-Armendariz, Aitor. Kakutani, Michiko. Kevane, Bridget. Latino Literature in America. Westport, CT: Greenwood, Latino Literature.
New York: Palgrave MacMillan, Sengupta, Somini. How It Happened.
Final Assignment - Aurora
Post a Comment. February 22, Junot Diaz and "Aurora". Junot Diaz is an incredible author. I recently read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao for the second time and was absolutely floored by its narrative complexity and emotional resonance. Oscar is obsessed with Science Fiction, fantasy, and anything that provides an escape from the depressingly awful circumstances of his life. Anyone interested in sci-fi, adulthood, Latin-american literature, or book in general will greatly enjoy this book. Since I originally created this blog to review short fiction, I hope to continue this for as long as possible.
The stories are set in the context of s America, and are narrated by an adult who is looking back at his childhood. Drown was published by Riverhead Books in When asked if he remembers the experience, he says: "If I burn your entire country down, would you remember being six or seven? There is nothing like the trauma of losing one's country and gaining another. It makes recollection very, very sharp.