Vietnamese-American literature. Andrew Lam


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This ppt is intended to an American Literature class. It talks about one of the many aspects of IDENTITY LITERATURE. In this case, the literature of one social group: the VIETNAMESE-AMERICAN people. It takles the case of ANDREW LAM.

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Vietnamese-American literature. Andrew Lam

  2. 2. VIETNAM AND THE U.S. **The Vietnam War, a.k.a. the Second Indochina War, was a War that occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from November 1955 to April 1975. ** Casualties and losses: South Vietnam 195,000–430,000 civilian de ad, 220,357– 313,000 military dead.; and 1,170,000 wounded United States 58,220 dead; and 303,644 wounded There were also dead and wounded people from SOUTH KOREA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, THAILAND, PHILIPPINES, NORTH VIETNAM AND THE SOVIET UNION. Total dead: two million people both sides. Total wounded: two million 200.000 people from both sides.
  3. 3. VIETNAM AND THE U.S. **The U.S. government viewed American involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of their wider strategy of ‖containment‖, which aimed to stop the spread of communism. **During the war, from 1961 to 1971, the ―HERBICIDE ORANGE‖ (HO, or AGENT ORANGE) was used against vietnamese civilian people. More than 400.000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of the use of the compound.
  4. 4. VIETNAM AND THE U.S. **The ―Fall of Saigon‖, 1975—ended the warprompted large-scale immigration from Vietnam. **People with ties with E.U. feared communist reprisals. **1975: 125,000 left South Vietnam. Highly skilled and educated. Airlifted by the U.S. to the Philippines and Guam, and then transferred to centers in the U.S. ** Now: Vietnamese Americans: political power in Orange County, Silicon Valley, California and Texas.
  5. 5. ANDREW LAM. **Born 1964. Vietnamese American Writer. **Born in South Vietnam, the son of General Lam Ouang Thi of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. **Left Vietnam with his family during the fall of Saigon, April 1975. **Attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in biochemistry. **Then he entered a creative writing program at San Francisco State University. **1993 won the Outstanding Young Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
  6. 6. Identity literature Who will Light Incense When Mother´s gone     Essay by Andrew Lam Setting: no place nor time explicitly mentioned. Characters: writer, his mum, family members Plot: Who will light incense to the dead when we´re gone?
  7. 7. Identity  ―Honestly , I don´t know”(...) “None of my children will do it and we can forget the grandchildren. They don´t even understand what we are doing. I guess when we´re gone, the ritual ends” Writer´s point of view: “Such is the price of living in America. I can´t remember the last time I lit incense sticks and talked to my dead ancestors. Having fled so far from Vietnam, I no longer know to whom I should address my prayers or what promises I could possibly make to the long departed.”
  8. 8. A matter of generations    She “lives in America the way she would in Vietnam” “Every morning(...) she piously lights a few joss sticks for the ancestral altar.” “Every morning she talks to ghosts. She mumbles solemn prayers to the spirits of our dead ancestors, asks them for protection.”
  9. 9. Language  ―Once when I was still a rebellious teenager and living at home, Mother asked me to speak more Vietnamese inside the house. ―No,‖ I answered in English, ―what good is it to speak it? It´s not as if I´m going to use it after I move out‖ ‖  ―Vietnamese appropriated the word ―cowboy‖ (...) to imply selfishness. A cowboy in Vietnamese estimation is a rebel who leaves town to ride alone in
  10. 10. Other reflections ―America,(...) had stolen my mother´s children, especially her youngest and once obedient son. America seduced him with optimism, twisted his thinking, bent his tongue and dulled his tropic memories‖  ―I visit her. I take her to lunch. I come from for important dates – New Year, Thanksgiving,‖ 
  11. 11. 2 different worlds ―We live in two different worlds, Mother and I‖  ―Mine is a world of travel and writing and public speaking, of immersing myself in contemporary history.‖  ―Hers is a world of consulting the Vietnamese horoscope, of attending Buddhist temple on the day of her parents´ death anniversaries and of telling and retelling stories of the past‖
  12. 12. Concern ―What will survive my mother?‖  ―She is what connects me and my generation to a traditional past. (...) I share her fear that the generation (...), what preserves us as a community, will fade away‖
  13. 13. Last lines  ―I fear she´ll leave me stranded in America, becoming more American than I expected, a lonely cowboy cursed with amnesia‖
  14. 14. Conclusion  In Andrew Lam´s essay Who Will Light Incense When Mother´s Gone? Many aspects of Identity Literature can be identified. Such as the issues related to acculturation, the use of L1 and L2, the feeling of belonging, the building up of identity. And how all these factors impact in different ways in the immigrant individuals who have left their beloved land behind to find shelter in a new country.
  15. 15. SOURCES. Lam, A.: Who will light incense... Retrieved from: Google images.