A rampant theme throughout Catfish and Mandala is Pham’s struggle to find his national identity. He is shown to see himself as an American misfit and failure while also seeing himself as the lost Vietnamese son. He constantly categorizes the people around him as Americans, Vietnamese, or Vietnamese-Americans. Page 64 describes a scene where the Vietnamese on the plane embarrass Pham and he tries to distance himself from them. He realizes that he cannot do this because by blood, he is one of them. As he was born in Vietnam but is an American citizen, Pham has an innate need to reconcile these two identities. Even when he returns to Vietnam, Pham does not fit in because of the time he has spent in America. In the United States, Pham has a hard time assimilating because of the cultural difference in the home he was raised in. Perhaps Pham should refrain from trying to define himself as either Vietnamese of American, but accept himself as a mixture of both. Human beings are more complicated than the place they call home; therefor defining oneself by national identity alone could never suffice to encompass an individual’s character.