Ysrael Summary & Study Guide

Junot Díaz
This Study Guide consists of approximately 26 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Ysrael.
This section contains 530 words
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Ysrael Summary & Study Guide Description

Ysrael 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 Quotes and a Free Quiz on Ysrael by Junot Díaz.

The following version of this story was used to create this study guide: Diaz, Juno. “Ysrael.” Drown. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996. 2-20. Print.

“Ysrael” takes place in the Dominican Republic and is narrated in the past tense by the character of Yunior. In the action of the story, Yunior is nine years old, and his older brother Rafa is 12 years old. It is the summer, and Yunior and Rafa are living with their uncle in the countryside near the town of Ocoa. They usually live with their mother in the city of Santo Domingo, but in the summer, she works in a chocolate factory and sends her sons to live with her brother. Yunior and Rafa’s father is in New York City, where he has lived and worked for the last six years to raise money to pay for his family’s passage.

Rafa and Yunior find life in the countryside quite boring. There are few people living nearby, and there is no electricity. However, Yunior enjoys the fact that Rafa is nicer to him when they are in the countryside. Rafa is a generally angry and violent person, but the two brothers behave somewhat like friends in the countryside. Yunior and Rafa become fascinated by a boy named Ysrael who lives a few miles away. Supposedly, Ysrael’s face was partially eaten by a pig when Ysrael was an infant, which is why Ysrael always wears a mask that covers his face. Whenever Ysrael is seen by nearby children, they chase him and try to hit him. Rafa and Yunior decide that they wish to look for Ysrael and meet him.

One morning, Rafa and Yunior take two empty soda bottles to the local grocery store and exchange them for a recycling refund. They then board a passing bus. Yunior sits next to a man whom he does not know, and the man gropes Yunior’s penis through the fabric of Yunior’s pants. Yunior cries out. Rafa does not witness this, but he signals the bus for a stop, as the bus is close to where Ysrael lives. Rafe and Yunior exit the bus without paying their fare. Yunior, shaken from the sexual assault he experienced on the bus, cries profusely. Rafa orders him to stop. They walk toward Ysrael’s home and ask various strangers for directions. Eventually, they find Ysrael flying a kite in a field.

Rafa and Yunior talk to Ysrael. They ask about his kite, and Ysrael says that his father sent it from New York City. Rafa and Yunior experience a feeling of jealousy, as their father rarely sends them anything. Rafa asks Ysrael to show them where the nearest grocery store is, and Ysrael walks them there. Rafa goes inside and buys a bottle of soda while Yunior stays outside and continues talking to Ysrael. Rafa returns and smashes the glass bottle over Ysrael’s head. Ysrael falls to the ground and Rafa removes Ysrael’s mask so that he can take a close look at Ysrael’s face. Yunior cries out to his brother to stop. Rafa and Yunior then leave and board a bus home.

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This section contains 530 words
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