The New York Times piece titled “Miss Lora” by Junot Diaz especially stood out to me with respect to all the assigned readings this semester. Even though it is labeled a fictional piece, I believe there is a valid connection with the real world when it comes to the stories ideas and the themes shown beyond first glance. I believe many people can relate to me when I say that this story made me uncomfortable for its blatant wording and storytelling details. Diaz writes about a boy and his sexual adventures with a much older teacher living in his neighborhood who eventually lands a job at his high school. Beyond that, the character has a generational past of such acts with older women, and Yunior “the main character) also is seemingly rude to women in general. It made me feel uncomfortable due to the non traditional nature of usual fiction taught in school, however it is something I appreciate this class for exposing me to. I believe it is important to be made uncomfortable and therefore challenging as a reader because it bolsters the readers growth and capabilities of understanding and interpreting various works of texts, as varying as they may be. Being challenging allows the reader to attempt to see the work in a different lens, which causes a new deeper understanding of the text in hand, which is something I experienced in “Miss Lora”, which I came to see was more than just a story of a kid sleeping with an older lady. After reviewing my colleagues discussion posts about Junot Diaz’s story, I also saw how this body of work made them comfortable, but I also saw how they analyzed the piece in a unique way as well, solidifying my idea regarding a challenging piece of work.
Even though I found the piece challenging and awkward, I read through it as I was pleasantly surprised to read something unique. The story held my interest in its entirety and I came to realize the underlying story being told. My professor’s question of ~“Why does the reader feel sorry for Yunior even though he is the way he is?” provoked me in the sense that I did not realize I felt that way until I tried to answer the question. Yuniors storied past painted another picture beyond face value, which led me to sympathize with him and subsequently root for him to not be like his troubled brother and father and be a better man. Miss Lora, who was Yuniors weakness, also displayed this in fictional form, pushing him to pursue higher education.
“At night, you go to the bars with some of the other idiots who stuck around the neighborhood, get seriously faded, and show up at Miss Lora’s door with your dick in your hand. She’s still pushing the college thing, offers to pay all the admission fees, but your heart isn’t in it…”
My main reasoning for this piece is that I believe a “outside-the-box” work of literature such as Junot Diaz’s can be very beneficial to a student by forcing them to analyze it in a non traditional form, leading them to do the same with other subsequent works and expanding their understanding of other great works of literature.