above the neighbouring roofs, and she couldnt help pausing to admire for a moment the clear and depthless sky into which the ashes vanished, an inverted blue bowl of the finest crystal, covering the whole of Saigon as far as her eyes could see.(Nguyen 207) The burning photos by Phuong represent that she gets rid of her haunting sisters ghost, who disturbed Phuongs life so long with false illusion life. Phuong feels that her family lives better life than Vivien and feels a sense of contented satisfaction.
According to Squire, unconscious activities such as skills and habits of a person are Non -Declarative memory.
The Other man was originally published in Best New American Voices 2007.This chapter portrays the cultural shock of a young refugees, Liem when he arrivesSan Diego airport and meets his Parrish Coyne, middle-aged and British. This chapter also portrays how unconsciously adapts the habit of new culture.
To be honest, Parrish announces at last, I didnt expect you to be so pretty.
(Nguyen 25) This situation makes Liem alienated by the cultural identity in America.Liem is caught off by this comment made by Parrish. Parrish then introduces Marcus Chan, Parrishs beloved; who is few years older than Liem. Liem notices Marcusphysique and admires him for his possession of straight posture and white teeth; also Liem wishes to share intimate relationship with Marcus. On the way to Parrishs home Liem narrates his dreadful story why he left his family.
Liem spoke with nonchalance, even though the prospect of rehearsing his story one more time flooded him with dread. In the four months since hed fled Saigon, hed been asked for his story again and again, by sailors, marines, and social workers, their questions becoming all too predictable. What was it like? How do you feel? Isnt it all so sad? Sometimes he told the curious that what had happened was a long story, which only impelled them to ask for a shorter version. It was this edited account that he offered as Marcus drove the car through the parking garage, into the streets, and onto the freeway. Casting himself as just one more anonymous young refugee, he recounted a drama that began with leaving his parents in Long Xuyen last summer, continued with his work in a so-called tea bar in Saigon, and climaxed with the end of the war.(Nguyen 26) Liem undergoes a psychological trauma while narrating his dreadful story. And his tiredness depicts how numb he feels in the course of narration; in order to get rid of the trauma people must relive traumatic memories over and over. In the case of Liem, his dreadful story delineates his difficulty in detaching his family and motherland due to war. Parrish and Marcuss revelation about their relationship makes Liem nervous and it is another culture shock, he faces in America.
In the darkness, he heard the rustle of mosquito netting as the others masturbated also. The next morning, everyone looked at each other blankly, and nobody spoke of what had occurred the previous evening, as if it were an atrocity in the jungle better left buried.(Nguyen 28) Liem recounts the nights the way they sleep on reed mats and all they do is masturbated together. Liem terribly feels isolated and ashamed of himself, when he has to live with two gay men. He tries hard to forget those nights and describes those nights as as if it were an atrocity in the jungle better left buried.Liem recounts how he hadnt complained when he had dispatched to Saigon to make money for his family, when he had to leave school at age twelve to shine American soldiers boots, at age eight when he had picked through garbage for toys. These scarifies of Liem represent how the Vietnam War affected in peoples life. The war brought out dark and dreadful memories in the peoples mind. Liem represents the whole society of Vietnam, who faces the same as Liem when they move to another place.
The book he carried in his pocket, Everyday Dialogues in English, had no scenarios featuring the duo patrolling the corner outside the store, so he said nothing as he brushed by the shivering prostitute with pimples in her cleavage, who dismissed him at a look, and the transvestite with hairy forearms, who did not. (Nguyen 33) Liems cultural identity starts to evolve. He tries to assimilate into the culture of America by learning English as well as by settling in a job. During his downtime, he started to learn Everyday Dialogues in English to improve his English skills. Liem describes of the two prostitutes who rejects him; that implies that Liem himself is gay.Later when Liem returns home, he takes douche and tries hard not to think of Marcuss body but in the otherhand Liem tries to isolate himself and suppress his desire.Nguyen brings out that Liem wants intimacy with Marcus.
Parrish explained how the government buried its spent plutonium and uranium in the desert, where they poisoned land and threatened lives for millennia. And mostly poor lives at that, Parrish said. Just think of it as a gigantic minefield in our backyard. (Nguyen 35) Liem migrated from a country where he experienced deadly mines. This situation implies thatthe ignorance of many people of the same conditions of the Vietnam War and its effect on civilians; even those who live in a country that took part in its destruction and who seem to want to rectify some of its damage.Though Liem and Marcus circumstances are different but there are some similarities in the trauma underwent by them. They both share their stories; Liem reveals that he feels isolated both by the culture and his family.
Youre not a fortune-teller. Anyway, thats all in the past. You cant dwell on it. The best way to help them now is to help yourself. (Nguyen 38)
Marcus can absolutely feel the mentality of Liem. Therefore, he tells Liem not to dwell on the past and asks him to move on to better future. A drift of all Liem longs for human connection which Marcus provides. Dont say I am hungry, say Im hungry. You have to learn how to use contractions if you want to speak like a native. (Nguyen 36) Liem slowly started to fit into the new culture. He learns English as well their culture.An inch by inch Liem leans on to the new culture (of having homosexual relationship).Liem doesnt feel ashamed of his intimate relationship with Marcus, demonstrating how he is in need of human connection. When Liem read the letter from his father it provoked tension in him it is because he knows his family is suffering under the Communist government, but in other hand he has rebelled against aspects of their culture.
According to Liems family; the life Liem lives in America is a sinful life because a relationship that is sinful to his family is no longer sinful to Liem. Freud pronounces that Trauma of child abuse and the importance of the temporal delay, which seems to be inherent to trauma and which Freud calls Belatedness, is evident in Liems case where he unconsciously becomes victim of their own trauma without their knowledge.
Raindrops on the glass dappled the reflection of his face. He waited at the streaky window for several minutes until he saw a sign of life, two men striding quickly down the street, shoulders occasionally brushing and hands deep in the pockets of their jackets. Their heads, ducked down low against the drizzle, were bent toward each other at a slight angle as each listened to what the other was saying. At one time he would have thought the two men could only be friends. Now he saw they could easily be lovers.(Nguyen 47) Liem put the letter aside and looks through the window, where he watches two men walking quickly in the rain. During the course, they brush their shoulders and laugh at each other. This situation made Liem to think that those men were lovers. (But the Old Liem might have thought they were friends) this depicts slowly steady change of Liem into new life, new attitudes and new culture in America. The two men could be the echoes of Marcus and Parrish. Nguyen brings out how Liem depends on Marcus and Parrish for human connection to feel less isolated.
War Years was originally published in Tri Quarterly magazine. War Years deals with an unnamed thirteen-year-old boy and his tension between ones cultural identity and ones family. The boys family began a store at a Vietnamese enclave in San Jose. The boyearns little amount for his work which he uses to buy comic books and games.
I was always a little disappointed to walk the four blocks to the grocery store my parents owned, the New Saigon Market, where English was hardly ever spoken and Vietnamese was loud.(Nguyen 50) If I cant pronounce it, my customers wont buy it. Now go stamp the prices on those cans.(Nguyen 50)Nguyen delineates how the little boy is in budding stage to separate himself from his cultural by learning English. I spoke only English. I liked school, even summer school.(Nguyen 50)The boy loves to attend the school its American. The comic book is the perfect instance for the boys slow shift from his culture to the new culture.Learning American history is also another example delineates the lead of the boy towards the new identity.
Customers always crowded the market, one of the few places in San Jose where the Vietnamese could buy the staples and spices of home, jasmine rice and star anise, fish sauce and fire-engine-red chilies. (Nguyen 50) The New Saigon Market represents the old culture of the boys familys identity. Cant we just sell TV dinners? I asked once. It was easy to say TV dinner sin Vietnamese since the word for television was ti-vi, but there were no Vietnamese words for other things I wanted. And what about bologna? (Nguyen 50) The boys question is another instance of how he is pulling himself from his Vietnamese identity. In turn his mothers reaction shows how she wants to cling on her culture; not the new culture.
Hoa introduced herself. Like my mother, she was in her late forties and dressed in monochrome, a white jacket, white pants, and white shoes, with bug-eyed sunglasses obscuring her face. As my mother bagged her purchases, Mrs. Hoa said, Im collecting funds for the fight against the Communists, my dear.(Nguyen 51) Mrs.Hoa who dressed in late forties and monochrome, tells the boys mother that she is collecting funds for a Guerilla army that is gearing against the Communists in Vietnam.
I had no memories of the war, but Mrs. Hoa said others had not forgotten.(Nguyen 51) The boy explains that he has no memories of the war, but Mrs. Hoa says that others have not forgotten. I wish I could help, Mrs. Hoa, but times are hard, my mother said.(Nguyen 52) The wars over. My mother sounded tired. Theres no fighting it again. (Nguyen 53) The boys mothers statement is quite sarcastic and she refuses to give money, it is because she lost faith in peace of Vietnam. Unlike Mrs. Hoa the boys mother is pragmatic. Mrs. Hoa is terribly haunted by the Vietnam War. When the boy asked why not his mother gave some money for their soldiers, she said the war is over; this implies how the past is strongly rooted in the heart of Vietnamese.
Perhaps my mother was talking about the famine at the end of the Second World War, when she was nine. Last year, an evening television report on the Ethiopian famine had prompted my mother to mention this other famine while I plucked the gray hairs from her head. Do you know a dozen children in my village starved to death? she said, even though I obviously did not know. Older people, too, sometimes right on the street. One day I found a girl I used to play with dead on her doorstep. My mother lapsed into silence as she stared at a point on the wall above the television, and I did not say anything. It was the kind of story she told all the time, and in any case, I was too distracted to ask questions.(Nguyen 54)The ghost story does not make any change in the boy; he cares much about his possession than his mothers experiences which shaped her identity.
Grimmer than rumors was how unknown assailants had firebombed a Vietnamese newspaper editors office in Garden Grove (he died), while another editor had been shot to death, along with his wife, in the doorway of their house in Virginia (the murderers were never caught). They just said in public what a lot of people already say in private, my mother said, wetting her fingers on a sponge. Making peace with the Communists might not be such a bad thing.(Nguyen 55) The fire bombings in Vietnam made the refugees clear that (i) conflict can follow people around the globe, and hardships of people do not end if one has left his country. (ii) the community is anti-Communist that tries to maintain its attitudes and opinions ,also kills the people in Vietnam by their own people. Most of the Vietnamese donated their possessions to the government; this is the state of Vietnamese in their land as well in the new land. The boys parallel story haunts him as the refugees from Vietnam.
When I peered through the peephole, I saw a white man who said, I got mail for you, sir. If he had spoken in Vietnamese or Spanish, I never would have unlocked the door, but because he spoke English, I did.(Nguyen 58) This situation implies that the boy has become American as a result of growing up in America; though by birth, he is Vietnamese.Theboy trusts the voice of a white man but not the voice of a Vietnamese personthis delineates the bias against his own culture .The boys family and Mrs.Hoa has different trauma, that is evident in their attitude towards the fund for guerilla army. When the boys mother visits Mrs.Hoas home; she realizes that each and every individual has trauma in their life. She decides to help the left people Vietnam but still they are in vulnerable condition; indeed of help.
Your husbands a soldier? my mother said. Hes a commando. The CIA parachuted him into the north in 1963. I havent heard from him since. Mrs. Hoa spoke without any change in inflection, clutching the box to her chest. The Americans sent my younger sons division to Laos in 1972. He never returned. As for my eldest son, he was in the army, too. The Communists killed him. I buried him in Bien Hoa in 1969. My daughter wrote to tell me the Communists scratched the eyes out of the picture on his grave. (Nguyen 68) Mrs.hoa is haunted by her past undergoes an unspoken tragedy. Nguyen depicts the way in which the refugees deal with their trauma and its aftermath with silence. The boy recognized Hoas condition that while some people are haunted by the dead, others are haunted by the living.(Nguyen 71) The boy clearly distinguished the difference between being haunted by the dead and haunted by the living (haunted by the future). My mother stopped under the bright lights at the door of the 7-Eleven, pulled a crisp five-dollar bill out of her purse, and handed it to me.
Go buy, she said in English, motioning me inside. Whenever she spoke in English, her voice took on a higher pitch, as if instead of coming from inside her, the language was outside, squeezing her by the throat. Anything you want.(Nguyen 72) The boys mother acknowledges the culture difference and therefore allows her son to buy English comics. Unlike Mrs.Hoa the boy and his mother assimilate themselves into the new culture for better life than being haunted by past like Mrs. Hoa.
The Transplant was originally published in Narrative magazine. This is the only chapter that does not centre on a refugee; instead centre on refugees whose past lives is hidden under the soil. Arthur Arellano, and the transformation of his modest garage into a warehouse, stacked with boxes upon cardboard boxes of counterfeit goods, was far from the most surprising. (Nguyen 73) Arellano and Louis run underhand business in America, where Arellano converts his garage into warehouse. Arellano lost his liver due to the habit he consumed in gambling. The liver is the symbolic representation of loss of better life or inhabitants in America. This new business in new land delineates how people travel to any extreme in search of better life.
According to Louis, Brodards was the finest example of such cuisine in the Little Saigon of Orange County. As Arthur ate the first course on their most recent visit, a succulent salad of rare beef sliced paper-thin and marinated in lemon and ginger grass, a cousin to the ceviche he loved, he wondered how the same dish would taste in Vietnam.(Nguyen 74) Arellano ate salad of beef slicedpaper-thinandmarinatedin lemon and ginger grass , wonders how this tastes in Vietnam would. This depicts how Arellano leans towards his cultural affinity.Also Louis isChinese by birth (reveals in the end of the chapter), so his cultural affinity for Vietnamese food roots not by his family but by the new culture, like the refugees migrated to America.
Autoimmune hepatitis means that your body no longer recognizes your liver as a part of itself. When this happens, your body rejects your liver.(Nguyen 77). Arthurs liver diagnosis makes him feel dejected and isolated from the world.Arellano feels like living dead after his liver diagnose. Norma had tough times with Arellano due to his inhabitant of gambling. When Arellano informs about his liver diagnose to Norma, he burst into tears. Norma decided to take care of Arellano and Normas understood that Arellano needs her physical and emotional support to his wellbeing.
Arthur, hovering in the corner, sensed that he was merely a specter, already dead, acknowledged by Norma only as she brushed by him on her way out the door, saying over her shoulder, Dont forget your pills.(Nguyen 83) But Arellanos only hope for life is in his wife who helps him to stay hopeful.Arellano received an anonymous donor for his transplant, he is