Choices In Ahn Do's The Happiest Refugee

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The choices we make result in new experiences that ultimately lead to a development in character, and take us on a personal journey. These decisions can result in both positive opportunities of individual growth, and also negative outcomes that can be deeply detrimental. In Ahn Do’s autobiography, The Happiest Refugee (2010), he depicts how our choices to step outside of comfort zones can significantly change our lives. The autobiography also emphasises the personal choice to remain resilient when facing hardships, and how this shapes our individual development. In Robert Frost’s poem, Out, Out (1916), he heavily features the notion that small choices can lead to major outcomes, which ultimately shape our personal journey. Both texts …show more content…

In The Happiest Refugee, despite Ahn’s lack of experience, he attempts stand up comedy and pushes himself to broaden his horizons. However, his initial discomfort at attempting comedy is shown in “My stomach started whirling” and “My trembling nerves”. The use of figurative language to describe physical symptoms of ‘trembling’ and ‘whirling’ allows the reader to understand his anxiety and appreciate the significance of his decision. Later on, Ahn uses repetition of “very” in “It was a very, very hard gig, but it taught me how to be very funny very fast” to both emphasise the obstacles faced in his pursuit of comedy, but also how quickly his life changed because of these new experiences. As Ahn eventually wins a comedy award, the significance of his success is shown through the metaphor “I was one of the youngest comedians to ever win it and it was the launch pad that I needed.”, allowing readers to understand that his choice to try comedy has ‘launched him’ towards a new trajectory in life, following his dreams in comedy. Ahn’s decision to step outside his comfort zone to pursue comedy despite the hardships he faced, ultimately altered the direction of his future …show more content…

This can also be seen when Ahn is rejected by Suzie, yet decides to persevere and stay resilient, despite initial disheartenment. This results in their later marriage and thus, his journey through life takes another significant turn. Ahn’s initial reaction to his rejection can be seen in “My heart sank.”, where the truncated sentence stresses his sadness and devastation. This obstacle is a recurring theme throughout his book, reflected in “Damn. Still ‘just friends’” and “Damn! Missed the window again.” -- the expressive use of ‘Damn’ also emphasises his frustration, yet Ahn continues to try. This is in stark contrast to the moment Suzie accepts Ahn’s marriage proposal. The event is remembered vividly by Ahn as “She cried, I laughed and we kissed. Then we both cried and laughed again.” where the repeated emotive language emphasises the significance of the day to him and how his perseverance has rewarded him. This experience was shaped by his choice to remain hopeful, allowing him to learn new skills in resilience and ultimately shaped his life

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