Duality In An Tinh

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though I was neither deaf nor mute” (14). Actually, silence in this context is not essentially an absence of sound but rather an inactive and disconnected attitude that the author adopted when she was a young girl. In several occasions, An Tinh considers herself as the “shadow” (18) of her cousin Sao Mai, constantly following her without owning any personal voice of her own. With that in mind, several sounds are present in the book to reveal how they contributed to the different transformations she went through in her journey. For instance, An Tịnh remembers when she met her French language teacher Marie France for the first time, she says “I was lulled by a cloud of coolness, or lightness, of sweet perfume. I hadn’t understood a word she’d…show more content…
Notably, the narrative moves back and forth between the life of the narrator in her home country Vietnam, in the refugee camp in Malaysia and in her adoptive country Canada. Revisiting the past and current circumstances draws the features of both East and West as the narrator perceives them. Despite the fact that the narrator carries a Vietnamese face and heart, she believes that living in the West has impacted her. She asserts referring to herself that it “had given confidence to my voice, determination to my actions, precision to my desires, speed to my gait and strength to my gaze” (77). Therefore, “I no longer had the right to declare I was a Vietnamese because I no longer had their fragility, their uncertainty, their fears.” (77) The key aspect of this statement is that the narrator presents the East as a space of uncertainty, struggle and hardship, while the West is a place of comfort and fortune. Undoubtedly, the narrator’s arrival to Canada was filled with admiration since the first day as she saw the “snowbanks through the porthole of the plane” (14) and the generous, round Westerners who “possessed such opulence, such generosity” that the narrator didn’t own. In fact, she was rather “all angular, bony, hard” (9) This comparison once again sheds the light on the difference in the perception of East and West through Thúy’s eyes and the importance…show more content…
In many sections of the novel, Thúy focuses on the character of Uncle Two who is “a charismatic, happy-go-lucky young man” (46) and who holds many Western values. The narrator renders his life with enchantment ans wishes she had such a life style that has “a festive aura, a sense of decadence and thrill” (48). She often compares that house to her parents’ who didn’t take life that loosely and were more engaged at learning as much as possible to be able to face life’s hardships. Moreover, An Tinh’s family is always contrasted with the ideal family of the “American
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