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This paper aims at discussing the motif of water and ways that it brings people together or keeps them apart.
The novel “The Gangster We Are Looking For” portrays the ways in which water led to displacement of Americans and how refugees of Vietnam and American war-Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians among others were displaced and fled across the pacific to new countries (Manh 32). Throughout this novel, water comes out as the main prominent motif. From the beginning, the author inserts that, “in Vietnamese, the word water and nation, homeland, and country are all the same and one (Huang 76). In, a similar manner, the concept of water plays a major symbolic role in varied ways throughout the entire text often with opposite/dual meanings. Most of the portrayed themes in this novel associates and entwines with water flow.
The novel “The Gangster We Are Looking For” shows how water led to separation of Vietnams families in America (Ryan 35). Despite the thin character and plot development in this novel, many readers come away with a common overall sense (the sense of mourning). By the time a reader reaches the last two stories/chapters, he or she finds it is clear that misery drives much of suffering and pain in the novel more that the culture shock of settling in America. The family narrated in the novel is still reeling and mourning for the loss of their son (Huang 78). Additionally, the way the son lost his life while Ba was still in prison leads to separation of the family members from each other and from their mother’s community.
One of the images that portray the dangers water poses to Americans Vietnams is that of the pool. People did away with the pool due to its dangers by filling and replacing it with the plant. Despite all the boat/water/drowning imagery portrayed in the book, the idea of the boys leaping themselves from the balcony into the pool depicts both senses of freedom and danger symbolized by the concept of water in
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