Drown Summary & Study Guide

Junot Díaz
This Study Guide consists of approximately 19 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Drown.
This section contains 412 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Drown Summary & Study Guide Description

Drown Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Drown by Junot Díaz.

Drown is written by Junot Diaz, a Pulitzer prize-winning author. In this collection of short stories, Diaz explores the struggle of Dominican Republic immigrants in the United States to achieve the American Dream. Each story is related, but is a separate vignette, each with its own title. The novel does not follow a traditional story arc but rather each story captures a moment in time. Drown is narrated by an educated adult, and set mostly in the 1980s, with much of the narrative occurring in the narrator’s childhood.

Yunior, the narrator, tells the story of his family’s immigration to the United States from the Dominican Republic. The story begins when Yunior and Rafa, his brother, are eight and twelve, and are sent to live with their uncle for the summer so their mother can work. Their father abandoned them when Yunior was 4 and their family lives in poverty, sometimes having to forgo food for clothes and other necessities. Their mother works long hours, sometimes fourteen-hour shifts, at a local chocolate factory while their grandfather watches them.

At 9-years-old, five years after Yunior’s father leaves, he returns from the United States to bring them back. They live in an apartment and establish a new community in New Jersey. Although they still live in poverty, they do not want for food or other basic necessities. The stories then jump forward many years to when Yunior is in high school and living with his mother. He works and helps pay the rent and other bills while she works as a housekeeper.

The last stories chronicle Yunior’s father’s experience as he tries to succeed in the United States. The father, Ramon, is ambitious and hardworking, but still struggles to provide for himself and his family. While he is away from the Dominican Republic, Ramon marries a U.S. Citizen, also from the Dominican Republic, in order to gain citizenship. He lives with her for many years and she bears him a son. Eventually, however, he leaves her and goes to reclaim his family that is still in the Dominican Republic. He leaves New York after getting a tip from a friend that a new apartment complex in New Jersey is looking for supers and is offering a salary and free rent. This is where he brings his family to live. The reality of Ramon’s situation, contrasted with his illustrious dreams of the United States, is stark.

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This section contains 412 words
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