Masculinity In Ysrael

732 Words3 Pages

The stories of Junot Diaz feature various elements of social and personal issues that are highly prevalent in young Latinx men, primarily the compulsion and adverse effect of machismo, the poignancy of being an outcast in one’s community, and the lack of a father figure in a boy’s life. The first set of short stories prominently feature Ysrael, a Dominican boy whose face was disfigured by a pig when he was an infant. In “Ysrael”, he is the object of Yunior’s fascination, and the victim or Rafa’s (Yunior’s brother) torment. In “No Face”, Ysrael narrates the same events instead of Yunior. Although these two short stories do not directly feature Yunior and Rafa’s father, they are as much about Yunior’s growth and development during his father’s absence as they are about Ysrael. In “Situating Latin American Masculinity: Immigration, Empathy and Emasculation in Junot Diaz’s Drown”, John Riofrio emphasizes that “Ysrael sets the stage for the picture of masculinity which will reveal itself throughout all ten of the stories.” At this point in time, Yunior is only a nine year old boy in the Dominican Republic, at a point in life where he is on …show more content…

In his world, one is either the violator or the violated. This lesson is showcased twice over the course of the day. First, when he and Rafa ride the bus. While Rafa is trying to scam their way onto the bus, a pedophile takes advantage of Yunior and touches his private area. Though Yunior berates the man, he is thoroughly traumatized by the experience. When the brothers Run away without paying their fare, Yunior begins to cry. The encounter leaves Yunior shaken, but Rafa thinks it is because they didn’t pay the bus fare. “You,” Rafa says, “are a pussy” (13). And later, “Are you always going to be a pussy?” (14). Yunior cannot answer, and he cannot tell Rafa what happened back on the bus. According to Rafa, the appropriate response to trauma is to “get tougher”

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