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The Vietnam War - Essay Example

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Your Name Page 1 Your Course Date Critical Analysis of Catfish and Mandala Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham is one of the few books that has succeeded in telling the story of people that get dislocated from their roots, their home town and have to settle at a different place…
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The Vietnam War
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Download file to see previous pages This semi-autobiography of the author is his exploration of his past as he travels through his home land, Vietnam, which also helps him in accepting his identity and hence provides the hope for a better future. The reason that the writer needed to go on this journey was because his transsexual sister had committed suicide under the pressure of not being able to identify her existence. This had triggered the author to look for his own identity. So, he goes on a trip to his homeland Vietnam travelling through various places that had held meaning to him during his childhood. He hopes to see the same Vietnam that he had left years ago, looking for his dear friend the one he trusted so much. However, as he travels through the land he is confused and surprised to see the way things had changed. This book is remarkable in the way Pham explains the changes, his feelings and the confusion of an out of place Vietnamese American. The main theme that is easy to pick up from this book is that of the confusion that exists for the second generation of refugees. “I tell them I’m Vietnamese American. They shriek, ‘Viet-kieu!’ It sounds like a disease. The news travels down the procession and the excitement subsides. Half of the group peels away, losing interest since I am not a real foreigner” (Pham, A. page no. 125). I think the identity of a person is very important for him and the way a person’s identity is created through his nation, his name, his family and through people associated with him. When a person has to move away from his nation, his family, his friends a part of his identity is lost. Creating a new identity is not easy especially when the new place happens to be so different from where they come from. This results in the constant dilemma that the writer also faces. “In this Vietnamese much, I am too American. Too refined, too removed from my que, my birth village. The sight of my roots repulses me. And this shames me deeply” (Pham, A. page no. 183). When people like the writer himself go back to their roots it is more of a displeasure to see that what they had left does not exist anymore. The roots they can associate themselves with does not exist anymore. This does not just further confuses them about their identity but forces them to rethink about their identity. “They smashed all the alley homes a long time ago. New homes are built right against the back of all the street-front houses. No more alley. But what about the people who used to live there? The Vo family? Gone. All gone….Come. Meet the new people and some of the old ones who are still here. I want to leave . This place is empty.” (Pham A. page no. 101). Pham explains the feeling of seeing everything that should remind him of his roots and yet does not connect to him. His words are a solace to all those who have gone through the same phase. Seeing things change so drastically does leave the feeling of emptiness, it is difficult to accept the changes, even though had the person been in the same place he would have gone with the flow changing with the changes brought about. But it’s different for somebody like the author whose memory holds a different picture not allowing the person to accept a different picture. It is just not easy to easily accept the change. “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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