Who Will Light Incense When Mother's Gone Theme

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“Who Will Light Incense When Mother’s Gone?” by Andrew Lam is a story of a mother and son who immigrated to America from Vietnam. Lam often explored and questioned how the value of tradition and culture for the Vietnamese Americans are identified. The themes most talked about in this story are the quest for identity/coming of age, conformity/rebellion, love and the American dream/nightmare. The family has moved to America and although the mother continues to participate in the tradition of the Vietnamese people by Lighting incense and speaking with dead ancestors. She would ask for protection of her children and grandchildren that they would prosper in America. (Lam) Lam her son decides not to participate in the tradition. Lam says, “In…show more content…
His mother wanting him to use all the Vietnamese traditions he decided to go out on a limb and create something for both worlds. Lam did well in school and studied hard however, his mother was not happy about him having to study so hard, making her feel the American education was making him distance himself from his own culture. Since this story is written from the non-fiction stand point it creates a more realistic atmosphere. Non-fiction stories are based on something that has happened to the author or something that actually happened and he decided that this story was best to write about. In Vietnam people participate in the traditional rituals of their culture and that is how other people are able to define the identity of the Vietnam people. In the story the boy and his mother has much love for each other that more people in America should have. Many people go through times that make it hard for them to know who they need to be in life this day and time many children at a very young age have to make a decision of which road they would like to take. The story throughout shows how people can rebel to find their own identity instead of being a part of what everyone else is a part of. We should always make our own decisions instead of being a follower we should be a
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