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. 


  1. Hi everyone! My name is Julie Judson and I am the Co-Coordinator of Social Programming, Family Programming, Transfer and Commuter Student Programming, and Sponsorship for Orientation. I flew through "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" (or as Lexi affectionately calls it, "Oscar") and thought the book was fantastic. Junot Diaz is considered one of the up and coming best modern writers out there right now, so its a huge privilege that he's coming to Brandeis to shed some light on this Pulitzer Prize winning book. His characters were all, in my opinion, beautifully crafted and really jumped to life on the page. The book even challenged me to brush up on my Spanish, which I haven't taken since my senior year of high school. I'm really curious to hear what all of y'all think! I'll be checking back here to see what kind of buzz the book is getting so start posting!

  2. Nathan Koskella ---
    I find the quote very inspiring personally, as well. Being something entirely different, yet alike with so many able and kind compatriots at Brandeis, is really the best feeling of my life.

    The reference to the 'staid' forces of the universe, I love, and I think it represents the obstacles we face to succeed against selfishness (in others and ourselves), ignorance, apathy, and the general status quo. It's so hard to achieve real change when you're trying to do it for real. When the motive is right, it becomes hard. Change for change's sake (progress, anyone?) is easy and fittingly unproductive. Helping people, figuring new ways to spread what' best about our humanity, that's why students' potential is so great. Oscar Wao's life offers a stark reminder in this regard. Innovate for empathy, study for posterity, discover for joy.
    Many fail, but we as students will try!

  3. Fiona Lockyer --
    To me, the essence of the quote is a little cliche. The novel, which at first I didn't like but came to respect, was great at taking small details and making them real to the reader. I think this quote is an instance of what the book could really do, which is take a phrase that is often told to students -"you are the future! you can change the world!"- and put it in a different light by not only calling a student an agent of change, but going so far as to consider a student as a "vibrating quantum string in the staid Newtonian universe." Its a metaphor that comes completely out of left field, but fits. They're scattered all over the novel, and thats why I began to like the book.