Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Monika Gehlawat

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Kate Cochran

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Maureen Ryan

Committee Member 3 Department



This reading of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao argues that narrator Yunior’s failure to capture the authentic speech of Beli illuminates the failure of narrative generally to speak authentically for the subaltern. The writings of Mikhail Bakhtin, Gayatri Spivak, and Scott McCloud work together to uncover the political and ethical implications of Yunior’s willful erasure of Beli’s voice. In the sections detailing her early life, Yunior draws attention to the gaps in the information he gives readers and thus reminds them that all narrative excludes and distorts details to fulfill an objective. This reading argues that those gaps of information that Yunior calls “blank pages” function similarly to the gutters in comic books. The gutters Yunior creates force the readers to fill in the blank pages with their own interpretation of events, and, in the end, both Yunior and the readers are complicit in erasing Beli’s voice from her story.