Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An Experiences A New Saigon

As An begins to see the current state of his hometown, he is surprised by the changes he sees and shocked by the poverty and corruption. He remembers Saigon from his childhood, but that Saigon is long gone. Even 20 years after the end of the war, remnants of its horror live on throughout the city. Even the younger generations have become victims of the war. The streets are riddled with beggars and one particular beggar girl causes pain and grief to surface in An. The beggar girl makes An question how different his life could have been for him and his family had they not fled Vietnam when they did. This beggar girl represents those possibilities because An feels that could easily have been him or his sister Chi, begging on the streets in order to survive.

Viet on the other hand seems annoyed with the beggar girl and sends her on her way. Viet has experienced a desensitization in a sense because experiencing this is nothing new to him. He was An’s age when the city fell and he has seen the effects of war throughout the years that An missed by coming to America. Viet is unaffected by the poverty and feels in no way that he owes these beggars anything. Viet himself is a victim of war because he has experienced hardships, but not to the extreme of the beggars. An on the other hand is deeply affected and runs after the beggar girl to give all the money he had. Even he is confused by these emotions and actions and grieves for what his life could’ve been if they had not escaped all those years ago. This experience in Saigon causes many emotions to surface in An and forces him to face the immense grief that he has been harboring. It also forces him to face the possibility that what he is searching for may not be found in Vietnam.

By Andrea

1 comment:

  1. Andrea,

    Your post was excellent! I really liked how you contrasted Andrew's reaction with Viet's reaction and the explanation that you gave for each. It is interesting how Andrew felt alienated in Vietnam, yet he could connect with people more than Viet, who lived with the Vietnamese people through all his life. As you said, Viet's coldness towards the begger girl could be due to the fact that he doesn't feel like the begger girl is any more victimized than he is, and that they both are war victims. However, it seems like Viet's cruelty also could have originated from living through the war as well, as one had to only live for himself in order to survive. On the other hand, Andrew's extreme sympathy towards the beggar girl is an indicator of how sensitive and emotional he is because he is allowing himself to feel pain and guilt for events that were out of his control.

    - Christina