According to James Baldwin, language connects one to or divorces one from society (454). It causes the desire to be accepted by both the private world and the public world. However, acceptance cannot be achieved when both private identity and public identity are displayed at the same time. The previous statement results in complete isolation by neither displaying one’s private identity nor conforming to public identity. Another consequence of that statement is ultimate conformity by suppressing one’s private identity and true self. In the case of the protagonist in “Londonstani” by Gautam Malkani and Oscar in “A Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz, their language—verbal and behavioral—reveals their isolation and conformity within their communities.Oscar de Leon, the protagonist in “A Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”, is isolated from his community because of his behavior that he neither proudly displays nor changes to meet society’s wants. Oscar comes from a very influential Dominican family. In his community, Dominican men are typically smooth talking, naturally social, and “woman-crazy” men. They rarely encounter a problem having to do with women or fitting in. Oscar, however, does not fit the generalization for Dominican men. He is more intellectually active than physically or sexually active. He stays in his room watching “Doctor who”—his favorite science fiction show— and writing journal entries as opposed to chasing girls. He does not suppress his actions and neither does he change them. In his community, such behavior constitutes him as an anomaly to Dominican behavior and isolates him from those who follow the typical Dominican standard.Oscar further shows his isolation through his be…
…goes to say that each language will very well have their own public identity which will be considered a private identity to anyone who does not speak the language. When choosing to have private identity, one must realize that the public will rarely accept it. Thus, one must be willing to accept the cost of choosing such a lifestyle—isolation. Likewise, when choosing public identity, one must give up who they truly are in order to fully conform to what the public expects. As seen through the lives of Oscar and Jas, private identity and public identity will never coexist.Works Cited
Diaz, Junot. “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” Rotten English: a literary anthology. By Dohra Ahmad. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2007.
Malkani, Gautam. Londonstani. Rotten English: a literary anthology. By Dohra Ahmad New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2007.