Who Will Light Incense When Mother's Gone Analysis

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I chose to do my essay on the non-fiction essay, “Who Will Light Incense When Mother’s Gone?” by Andrew Lam. The themes I noticed in this non-fiction essay is love, identity, and the American dream. Andrew Lam feels guilt and shame when he heard his mother's remark: “Who will light incense to the dead when I’m gone” (Lam). Lam’s mother is worried that when she dies, their Vietnamese culture will be forgotten due to the modern American culture Lam has adapted to. His aunt replies to her worries and utters that when they die the rituals will end because the youth and future of the family do not understand the Vietnamese traditions. Lam’s mother feels that America has stolen her children away from her and their Vietnamese traditions. The theme…show more content…
Lam and his mother are already associated with two different cultures. Lam is Vietnamese but has been living in America for almost his whole life and his mother has spent most of her time in Vietnam. I feel like identity in Vietnam takes their culture more serious and they show appreciation to their society. They are very strict and they stick to their cultural beliefs. On the other hand, Americans are given more freedom, our society is more reclined. When I look at Lam’s character and his mother’s character, I see America (Lam) and Vietnam (mother). Lam grew up in America while is mother was born and raised in Vietnam. She carried her traditions from Vietnam to America. That’s where Lam and his mother are in two different worlds. “We live in two different worlds, after all, she and I. Mine is a world of travel and writing and public speaking; hers is a world of consulting the Vietnamese horoscope and eating vegetarian food when the moon is full, of attending Buddhist temple on the day of her parents' death anniversaries, a pious devotion” (Lam). It shows how diverse their worlds really are. How America is a place of writing, public speaking, and travel while in Vietnam, they are actually going by their book. Living in America has changed what is considered important to him, but not to his mother. College degrees, journalism awards, and other demonstrations of success are what is important in America, not

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