The Sacred Willow Summary

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“The Sacred Willow” portrays four generations of a Vietnamese family that stretches from the traditional mandarin culture of northern Vietnam, the French occupation, the Vietnamese war, to life in the US. A main portion of this book is centered around the narrator Mai’s father Duong Thieu Chi and his struggle of working in the government while raising a family during the time of French Occupation. Throughout Mai’s accounts, her father’s internal conflict between good and bad as well as modern and traditional are highlighted to symbolize the 20th century Vietnamese sentiments towards their country and their call for independence. The books begins by Mai retelling her great grandfather and grandfathers’ lives which are important because it gives reasoning to explain how the French occupation drastically changed her father, Duong Thieu Chi’s life, career, and decisions. Duong Thieu Chi was a man who struggled between…show more content…
People made their money from land-ownership and commerce was something that would have been looked down upon a few decades earlier. Mandarin’s gradually lost their prestige and were not much better off materially than the merchants and peasants they governed. Commerce and business became not only respectable, but also desirable to develop a country. The French also began to educate more natives and open up the middle and upper levels of government to the locals. When Duong Thieu Chi got a job in the colonial government, the French had become more militant and structured (Elliot, p. 85). They concluded that the French would have to win their freedom back by violence rather than modern education and reforms. This led to Duong Thieu Chi’s job becoming more difficult because he had to be under strict orders to suppress any communist and nationalist support by increasing vigilance even if he supported it internally. He was held responsible for anti-French activities in his territory (Elliot, p.
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