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This chapter examines theories of laughter, suggesting that the Western intellectual tradition’s attitude toward laughter until the twentieth century can be encapsulated by Thomas Hobbes’s notion of sudden glory, which claims that one laughs at other people or situations because one feels superior to them. Bakhtin expanded the Western approach to laughter when he underscored how carnivalesque laughter resists the political status quo. This chapter contends that Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao structures a fascinating interplay between sudden glory and the carnivalesque laughter of the oppressed. Although hyper intellectual Yunior de las Casas’s laughter of dominance opens the book, Oscar de León’s more tempered and textured laughter as he is being abused ends it. The chapter’s examination of laughter reveals the contrapuntal interplay between oppressors and oppressed and traces a trajectory for a Latino/a literature that both comments on and remakes the American literary tradition.

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