Alma Themes & Motifs

Junot Díaz
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Personal Background

This story explores personal background not as an inherently defining factor in a person’s life, but as an influential aspect of a person’s identity in terms of a person’s attitudes and reactions. For example, Yunior was born in the Dominican Republic, and instead of embracing this fact as an integral part of his identity, he apparently holds sustained resentment. Yunior alludes to this resentment when he describes his eyes as his “frowning I-had-a-lousy-Third-World-childhood-and-all-I-got-was-this-attitude eyes” (47). Yunior’s childhood is explored more deeply in other stories by Junot Diaz, such as “Ysrael,” but the main function of Yunior’s background in “Alma” is to illuminate Yunior’s lack of interest in exploring or gaining a closer relationship with his heritage. For example, when Alma calls Yunior a “real Dominican” (48), Yunior sardonically thinks of himself “on the Plátano Index you wouldn’t rank, Alma...

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This section contains 2,334 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Alma Study Guide
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