I See You

Haunting takes the form of the fukú americanus in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Unlike other forms of haunting that we have discovered these past weeks, the fukú acts predominately as a family curse, one that follows Oscar and his family from the DR to New Jersey, and basically everywhere they may go.

What makes the fukú an effective haunting is the referential imagery that enhances the idea of being followed by a curse and constantly being watched. Specifically the reference to Sauron, the all seeing eye from Lord of the Rings.

As a haunting figure himself, Sauron can peer into the lives of others, but pays special attention to the bearer of his ring of power. Much like Frodo, Oscar’s family seems to be the unsuspecting target of this burden. The fukú affects people indiscriminately, but has a unusually strong attraction to the Wao family. This parallels the role of Frodo in Lord of the Rings; he has a connection to the ring of power from the onset, although appearing as a non-threat to Sauron at first glance.

Does the fukú target those with an unusual capacity for haunting? When considering all the horrors faced by the family, it seems like it. Many of the srtuggles, such as Beli’s assault, are things that not everyone could survive, but these characters persist. Was Oscar chosen to war against the fukú the same way Frodo was destined to destroy Sauron? As a fantasy geek, I imagine Oscar would revel in that comparison. A normal protagonist with unknown power is a common trope in franchises that attract self-described “nerds.” Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter, they are all people that fans can picture themselves as, because they start their stories in accessible places. Oscar knows their stories by heart most like, but he cannot see that his story has just started in precisely the same manner.


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