In every culture superstitions lay,personally in my culture when returning home late at night one must walk inbackwards avoiding any evil lurking in the night that may follow you in. “The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao”speaks of a superstition embedded in Dominican Culture, Fukú “generally a curseor a doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World”(1)and Zafa “only one surefire counter spell that would keep you and your family safe.”(7) The fukú curse follows the Cabral Line from Abelard Luis Cabral to Oscar DeLeon attacking each of them in its own way.
Abelard Luis Cabral a well respecteddoctor who had two daughters; Jacqueline and Astrid often had dinners withRafael Trujillo the main controller of Dominican Republic. Rafael Trujillo alsoknown, as El Jefe was a man no one went against and never said no too. Began tolook for Jacqueline as he found interest in her ” She had caught a serious caseof the hips-ass-chest, a condition which during the mid-forties spelled troublewith a capital T to the R to the U to the J to the illo.
” (216) Trujillobelieved that every woman in DR was his, and that included Abelard’s daughterJacqueline. Abelard’s greatest fear came alive for he knew the fate hisdaughter would face, “getting raped by her illustrious president was thefurthest thing from her excellent mind.” (218). Trujillo’s use of secret policemeant that he got any women he wished, and no one could save you. After Abelardwent against Trujillo by protecting his daughter he was arrested.
“Slander andgross calumny against the Person of the President.” (233), while imprisonedAbelard wife Socorro dreamt of a no face man who she witnessed standing overher husband. A sign of the fukú waiting patiently for Abelard. The beginning ofthe Cabral curse. Socorro eventually killed herself from grief, Jackie andAstrid both perished too ” In 1948, Jackie, the family’s golden child, wasfound drowned in her godparents’ pool” (249). In 1951, while praying in achurch in San Juan, where she lived with her tios, a stay bullet flew down theaisle and struck her in the back of the head, killing her instantly.”(250) Thefuku that haunted Abelard had passed onto his wife and daughters and wouldcontinue to pass on. Hypatía Belicia Cabral also known asBeli was the third and final daughter of Abelard Cabral and the mother of Lolaand Oscar.
The Fuku that took Abelard had pass to Beli. Who spend her childhoodbeing a servant; La Inca gave her a new life, where she would fall in lovethree times, first with Jack Pujols, who “it seems, had promised Belicia thatthey would be married as soon as they’d both finished high school, and Beli hadbelieved him, hook, line, and sinker. (101) Belicia believed that Jack wouldmarry her and take her away, but he never did. The second heartbreak of Beliciacame from the Gangster, who Beli met at the club. “He, on the other hand, wasthe essence of relaxed cool.
” (115) The Gangster and Beli began to “date” whereshe falls head over heels, after being abandoned by the gangster in the Samana,she noticed on her travel home a no face man, ” but our girl could have swornthat a man sitting in a rocking chair in front of one of the hovels had no faceand he waved at her as she passed but before she could confirm it the pueblitovanished into the dust.” (135) The Fuku hasn’t gone anywhere, but is simply waitingand watching, the presence of the Fuku is still haunting Belicia, just as ithaunted Abelard, her mother, and sisters. Beli realizes after a little timethat she’s pregnant by The Gangster, while she was happy she learned that theGangster was married to no other than Trujillo’s Sister. After being kidnappedand forced into a cane field Beli was beaten like a slave, she managed toescape beaten and bruised. “So as Beli was flitting in and out of life, thereappeared at her side a creature that would have been an amiable mongoose if notfor its golden lion eyes and the absolute black of its pelt.
” (149) Beli’s ownZafa, her counter spell, the mongoose giving Beli strength to live for her sonand daughter that a future awaits her. The presence of Zafa also exists in LaInca, “…Praying in her room-the silence that lay between them now, strongerthan love…”(148), her persistent prayers kept Beli alive. Her third and finalheartbreak is no other than Oscar and Lola’s father who doesn’t speak about butit was clear she wouldn’t love again. Lola, the daughter the mongoosepromised Beli was no other than a rebel, a “punk chick” struggling to be theperfect Dominican daughter. After being raped Beli shuts Lola up by telling herit wasn’t important, and continuously abuses her. “When that thing happened tome when I was eight and finally told her what he had done, she told me to shutmy mouth and stop crying, and I did exactly that….”(57) The strainedrelationship between Lola and Belicia led up too Lola running away with herboyfriend “It was like the stupidest thing I ever did.
I was miserable. And sobored. But of course I wouldn’t admit it.” (64) However, like Fuku waitingpatiently, it turned out to be horrible after being caught by her mother, Lolaended up in Santo Domingo where she couldn’t run away.
While in Santo Domingo, Lola eventuallybegins to date a man named Max; he ends up dying in a motorcycle accident. “Thecurse, some of you will say.”(210) Fuku once again haunting the Cabral line,the ultimate doom.
The last and final child of HypatíaBelicia Cabral, Oscar de León, an awkward nerd who could never get a girl,unlike the typical Dominican man, he had no game whatsoever. “Oscar was asocial introvert who trembled with fear during gym class…” (22) As Oscar becameolder, his weight went up quite a lot 245lbs. His mother explained that heshould just worry about his grades and not women.
” Just be glad you didn’t getmy luck, hijo…. What luck? His tio snorted.” (24) Everyone knew that Oscar hadno luck, the Fuku lurking about, even his friends Al and Miggs were ashamed ofhim. The curse follows Oscar throughout his short wondrous life.
After highschool, Oscar attended Rutgers where he continued the cycle of being a loner.After drinking too much one night, Oscar planned to commit suicide, however itsimply didn’t work and he ended up landing on a highway divider. ” Later, whenhe would describe it, he would call it the Golden Mongoose, but even he knewthat wasn’t what it was.” (190) The mongoose appears as Zafa saving Oscar’slife from death, instead of being splattered across the highway, he safety madeit onto the divider. The curse hadn’t killed him yet, but Zafa was protectinghim.
As he floated throughout college it became clear nothing had changed inhis life, after graduation he became a teacher for his old school. He knew hehad done nothing but remained a nerd he also knew the reason for it all. Fuku.” He didn’t want this future but he couldn’t see how it could be avoided,couldn’t see how it could be avoided, couldn’t figure his way out of it. Fuku.”(268) Oscar was completely aware of the curse on his family and how much ithaunted him. During the family vacation to Dominican Republic, Oscar begins toexplore, he eventually meets a women named Ybon who he falls for deeply andswears he loves her. A women who truly didn’t care for Oscar and who was knownfor dating a policeman known as the Capitan.
Oscar being blind and way tooobsessed with love eventually runs into trouble with the Capitan. Where he’sbeaten to a pulp, “it was the Gotterdammerung of beat downs, a beat-down socruel and relentless…” (298) “Oscar was sure that he was being beaten by threemen, not two, that the faceless man from in front of the colmado was joiningthem. The Fuku was waiting for Oscar, watching him almost die. Almost, is a keyword, La Inca and Beli may have performed the counter spell Zafa.
“Let us pray,La Inca said grimly. She grabbed Beli’s hands and lowered her head.” (301) Theprayers of La Inca and Beli may have been the push to keep Oscar alive for alittle longer, even after being beaten to a pulp Oscar still loves Ybon. Afterbeing forced back to the States, it became clear Oscar didn’t care but simplywanted to go back to Dominican Republic for Ybon.
After returning Ybon warnsthat the Capitan would kill them, but Oscar didn’t seem to care. Likeclockwork, he was being beaten again, even as they drove to the cane field hedidn’t budge. ” They drove past a bus stop and for a second Oscar imagined hesaw his whole family getting on a guagua, even his poor dead abuelo and hispoor dead abuela, and who is driving the bus but the mongoose, and who is thecobrarador but the man without a face.”(321). Oscar realizes the presence ofFuku and Zafa in the Cabral Family line, and in a sense accepts his death tofuku.
The Cabral line from Abelard toOscar have all faced the curse of Fuku and the impact it has had on each oftheir lives, from Trujillo’s regime to Beli loosing the battle with cancer.Attacking each member in its own way, patiently waiting to attack.