Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type



English Language and Literatures

Director of Thesis

Anne Gulick, PhD

Second Reader

Eli Jelly-Schapiro, PhD


The following thesis aims to examine the interlocutions of diasporic trauma and genre in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. Centering the work of prominent theorists regarding diaspora, trauma, and literature, this project enacts a close reading of the novel in order to frame it as a text that is at once principally concerned with diasporic trauma while also defying thematic labels and genre categorization. This project begins by foregrounding the work of trauma and diaspora scholars to demonstrate the relationality between the two fields of study, while the second chapter examines those presences in Oscar Wao; the third chapter then takes the alternative approach, demonstrating the importance of moving beyond a singular framework of diasporic trauma, and the final chapter connects those articulations to the novel. Ultimately, this thesis demonstrates how Oscar Wao reckons with the diasporic trauma of the Dominican Republic through the lens of magic and fantasy.

First Page


Last Page