Fuku? What is this really? Stories passed along in families to scare children? Maybe it is an excuse to have when something horrible happens. Is it possible it really is a curse passed down through generations from caused by the act of an individual? Who is to say? In the book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junto Diaz, the main character Oscar De Leon’s family really believes the family is under a major Fuku. First off to explaining what Fuku is, according to Diaz, it is a curse or a doom of some kind.
Now to focusing on how the Fuku effects Oscar himself looking at different aspects of the character. Firstly it is best to describe Oscar’s appearance to get a better idea of the character. Oscar never was a small man, and over the years of his life he tried a few times to fix it, but never could stay with it. In college his roommate Yunior tried to help him with working out but Oscar couldn’t stick to it (176-178). He did get in slightly better shape after his suicide attempt right before he graduated from college. All in all though he was always just a large nerdy guy.
Right away it can be seen Oscar feels this body image he has is part of his curse adding to his problems with life. Next is Oscar’s relationships and actions. Oscar at a young age was already a heavy set person, but at seven years old he has two girlfriends. Maritza a girl who was very pretty and popular with his friends and family. Then there was Olga whose family didn’t impress Oscar’s. The two relationship lasted a total of a week when Maritza gave Oscar an ultimatum Olga or her, of course at this age he decides that he’s better off with having the prettier girl and ditching the other.
It is possible to think this action right here could be viewed at the start of one the major problem he has with himself, being stuck a virgin. Soon after Maritza in-turn dumps him, leaving him in a not so good a place (15). Fuku? Maybe, Maybe not, but Oscar does feel this is the beginning of his downward spiral into oblivion. It is possible that this is where the Fuku takes notice of Oscar, after treating Olga that way the Fuku has decided that he does not deserve to be truly happy. Between puberty not being kind to him, gaining weight and acne, and the love of his genres, his social status dropped into a void.
All through high school he was deemed a fat lonely nerdy kid, weighing upwards of 260 pounds and lacked all the usual spects that might be helpful in attracting women, couldn’t play sports or dance, and had no talent for music or even rap. Of course Oscar was the type that would always be falling for one girl or another and pine away silently for one or another. Senior year his friends, Al and Miggs both were able to find themselves girlfriends, but sadly they both were too ashamed of Oscar to help set him up with anyone (29).
Even now the Fuku is getting stronger, his friends do not even see hope for Oscar between his nerdiness and over all appearance they have decided there s not a point in helping him find a girlfriend. Right before college during his SAT prep class, Oscar fell for a girl Ana Obregon. Oscar and Ana spent a lot of time together, months go by until Oscar realizes he’s in the Let’s-be-Friends’ Vortexes’ (41). Oscar’s dreams of Ana are shattered when her boyfriend returns from the army.
Manny was a piece of work abusive to Ana, to the point Oscar stole a gun and waited outside Manny’s place all night (46). It would be thought by now Oscar would start trying to help himself instead of blaming others for the problems he is having. Yes what Ana did to him as not cool and Manny was a horrible person, but Oscar knew she had chosen Manny over Oscar and he should have let it go. At least here the Fuku was kind and Manny never showed up and Oscar did smarten up enough to go home. Nothing happened though and in the Oscar moved on to college.
It was here in college was Oscar’s lowest point, Jenni Munoz. At first Jenni was another girl Oscar hit it off well with, thought it was his chance to finally be with a woman, until one day he walks in on her and another guy. Oscar goes completely nuts and tears up her room. His roommate Yunior had to go stop him. This was Oscar’s tipping point, which lead him to trying to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, but he survived (187-191). In all honest Oscar never does seem to get a break in any of the women that do give him the time of day.
Jenni was defiantly the preverbal straw that broke the camel’s back. Maybe it would have been a kindness to him here if the Fuku just let him go, but it is possible that he did do some good later on. Oscar returned home after graduating from college. Oscar would work as a substitute teacher at his old high school, while sending out his stories and novels out, but no one seemed interested. A year later the substituting turned into a full time job (263). Oscar has a short friendship with a coworker at his old high school Nataly that in all honesty was barely a blip (265).
It was not until a few years later when he goes with his mother on vacation in Santo Domingo, that he finally does meet the one. This of course was not without major complications. Her name was Ybon Pimentel, she was a local woman of the night with many clients, one being the capitan who she called her boyfriend. After spending the summer together she brings up that the capitan is a very jealous man and maybe they shouldn’t pend as much time together (291). One night while driving her home they’re pulled over the capitan and two of his goons, Ybon of course decides this is the time to drunkenly kiss Oscar.
The capitan see this and has his goons take him out to the cane fields and beat him almost to death. Oscar’s swears there was a third man there with no face (299). His friend Clives luckily follow the goons and rescues Oscar from the cane field. After the beating he dreams of a mongoose asking him more or less. At first he wanted to say less, but thinks of his family and say more (301). Ybon visits him one ore time while he’s healing and tells Oscar that she’s going to get married. His family get him back to the United States as soon as possible afterwards (305).
Few months later after healing up he heads back down to chase Ybon again. For another month he spends time in Santo Domingo and for one glorious week he gets to be with Ybon while the capitan is away, but in the end the goons catch up to him drag him back out to the cane fields and kills him (322). Oscar chasing after this woman that eventually gets him kill could be called crazy. It could have possibly been the Fuku pushing him to do crazy hings, or just his unstainable need to not die a virgin, but who really knows.
Maybe in the end Oscar’s story is just another one added to the lists of Fuku legends passed down in the family. The man that went to face the destiny he wished for himself instead of just accepting a life of emptiness. It can be deemed he was crazy at this point. Any sane person would of let Ybon go and moved on to find a more available woman, but love can make a person do crazy things, even die for it. Does Oscar’s story explain Fuku? Over all maybe it is just for the reader to really decide.