Friday, May 31, 2013
Tree of Saigon
The tree is then covered in memories, both old from An's childhood and some that are new from his return experiences. These things adorn the tree but do not necessarily grow on it, to show that An is caught between the forming of new memories and the dying of the old memories. The only exception to this is the coconuts on the floor, showing his memories of "the coconut groves" (178) have not remained as he once held them.
In the tree are things related to experiences and memories An recalls; from left to right: the tamarind pods that used to fall from the ghost tree, the monkey that is now chained to the dying star fruit tree, the red paper flowers An was once bullied amongst, a hammock like those that used to dot his city, the squatty huts and shacks that filled Phan Tiet, the star fruits that used to grow, a bicycle for the man who must bike scrap metal to feed his family, large buildings for the seemingly "urban" lifestyle that has spread into An's city, and a noose in part for the ghost tree and in part for Chi's suicide. Finally, while the coconuts rest on the ground in the grass, the roots of the tree remain suspended, symbolizing how An feels out of touch with his roots in Vietnam.