Thursday, August 20, 2009

What is "Wonder"?

Hi, I'm Mark Auslander, a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology. I'm interested in people's thoughts on the word "wondrous" in the novel's title. For much of the book the reader might think that "wondrous" refers to the kind of mind-bending wonder in the science fiction and fantasy books, movies and games that Oscar is so taken with. But as the novel progresses, different forms of wonder enter into our horizon, and by the end, "wonder" becomes something quite different. But just what is that new form of wonder, hinted at in the book's final lines? And what does this kind of wonder have to do with the power of writing itself?

Any thoughts?

all the best,
Mark Auslander

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Hello again- 
    This is Lexi....
    Other faculty and staff are going to be posting new discussion topics soon, but I wanted to start you off with another one today.

How does the Spanglish/ Spanish influence Oscar's story? Does it make it feel more authentic? Did it distance you from the story or draw you closer? As a non-Spanish speaker, does the language make you feel like an outsider possibly paralleling how Oscar might have felt? If you do understand Spanish how did that connection impact your reading of the novel?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Quote I Liked...

Hi new students!
    This is Lexi Kriss '11; the Academic Coordinator of Orientation. I wanted to share a quote with you from Oscar that I really enjoyed and thought was a great jumping off point for starting a discussion about the book and welcoming you to Brandeis. 

" - a student was something else altogether, an agent for change, a vibrating quantum string in the staid Newtonian universe" (Diaz, 110). 

I love this description because I feel it captures the power of students and their potential impact. It is possible for every student that enters Brandeis to make a change, a difference, a smile... can't wait to hear what you think. 

An Interview with Junot Diaz!

Hi everyone! 
     We hope you're all having great summers! One of the professors here at Brandeis found this fabulous link that gives an interview with Junot Diaz! Please post anything you'd like to discuss on this forum about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Some discussion questions to get you going will be up shortly! We can't wait for you to get to campus! 17 days until Orientation!!!