This work explores Junot Díaz’s incorporation of nerd culture into his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and that move's larger impact on the genre of trauma narratives. By using allusions to nerd texts such as The Lord of the Rings to structure his depiction of the brutal reign of Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina, Díaz effectively rewrites Dominican history, creating a retroactive continuity of fantasy. Retroactive continuity, or retcon, is a little-discussed interpretive strategy of the nerd community with striking parallels to Lacanian notions of fantasy. A reading of Díaz's retcon ultimately casts doubt on the silent victim's traditional role as the foundation of trauma narratives, suggesting instead that the ideological root of these stories is actually the hypothetical denier of trauma.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Clawson, Stephen Clancy, "At Second Glance: Retroactive Continuity in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 2991.
Junot Díaz, Oscar Wao, retcon, fantasy, trauma