Abstract

Whilst Bharati Mukherjee has identified Junot Díaz as a new American immigrant writer who refuses to abandon his mother tongue and “pre-migration historical inheritance,” Toni Morrison has argued that language is “the most valuable point of entry into the question of cultural (or racial) distinction.” Considering both the difference between old and new American immigrant writing and the question of cultural and racial distinction in Díaz’s writing, close analysis of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao shows the newness and the political valency of Díaz’s translingualism. It reveals how his narrator Yunior’s oral-sounding discourse is created from high literary techniques and references combined with the “tainted” languages of sci-fi and fantasy, hip hop and Spanishes of the street. It is in this cultural and linguistic miscegenation that Díaz’s originality and radical poetics reside, as they make up an original new-immigrant literary discourse that is distinctly his “own goddamn idiom.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1512
Print ISSN
0039-3827
Pages
pp. 494-512
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-01
Open Access
No
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