The Dangers of Intimacy: The Importance of Metacognition in Junot Díaz’s “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie
Keywords:Junot Díaz, cultural intelligence, metacognition, theory of mind, intercultural fiction, postcolonialism, second-language acquisition
This paper proposes a pragmatic reading of Junot Díaz’s short story “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie” by making use of Cultural Quotient (CQ, a/k/a Cultural Intelligence) a new branch of academics that draws from the fields of linguistics, psychology, anthropology, and international business to make one more culturally aware. Additionally, the paper gives focus to CQ Strategy, the metacognitive step of the CQ process, and uses the cognitive psychological concept Theory of Mind (ToM) to explain how human consciousness has evolved to read and anticipate the mental states of others. Both CQ and ToM depend on metacognition in order to navigate from one cultural context to another. The article attempts to explain how metacognition enables Díaz’s Dominican protagonist, Yunior, to become culturally intelligent as well as anticipate the emotions of the various American girls he dates and hopes to seduce. Finally, the article will propose what learners of a second language can gain from reading works by Díaz, and thus other cross-cultural fictions, by using a pragmatic approach to literature.
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