This Is How You Lose It: Navigating Dominicanidad in Junot Díaz’s Drown

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



immigration literature, Dominican American identity, narrative of loss

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


This chapter analyzes Díaz’s work through his critique of U.S. neocolonialism. His attention to classism, intraethnic racism, and internalized racism illustrates Drown’s effectiveness as what the chapter terms a narrative of loss. Díaz’s text grapples with the immediate, measurable losses associated with immigration: loss of a physical home, loss of family, loss of language. His principal narrator, Yunior de las Casas, illustrates the psychocultural migration intrinsic to people who are stuck in a narrative of loss. The stories in Drown are striking examples of contemporary Dominican immigrant narratives wherein characters must navigate the riptides of cultural identity. Because identity construction in Anglo- and Latino/a America is deceptively narrow, Yunior illustrates how one must swim entirely out of them or drown between them.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

This Is How You Lose It: Navigating Dominicanidad in Junot Díaz’s Drown, in M. Hanna, J. H. Vargas & J. D. Saldivar (Eds.), Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination, Duke University Press, p. 189-225