Living Up between Two Cultures

Original Text: Living Up between Two Cultures


People who experienced war are all victims of war. In Perfume Dreams, Andrew Lam, an author, who came from Vietnam as a refugee, tells his sufferings live up two different cultures; two different ideas of history, two sets of civilizations, two traditions, two languages, and two sets of behaviors (P. 34). He was distressed by these senses in his childhood. However, he could be different person by speaking English; it made him released. Lam says “the immigrant child, wanting the larger world, shunning the old ways, inexorably breaks his parents’ heart” (P. 35). I think that immigrant children disappoint their parents by growing apart from their parents because they have to look forward and adapt new culture quickly, but for parents it is not easy to look forward like their children.
Most of young refugee children have tragic memories at their background and also, they try to adapt new culture for going forward as quickly as they can. For Lam, most his memories about Vietnam is, by his word, “Old World tragedy” (P. 5). He and his family had experienced Vietnam War, and he was only eleven years old. When he was in refugee camp he always saw many people in sorrow, many people lost their families during the war; the sound of weeping was his refugee camp lullaby (P. 21). But, his tragedy memories were improved by spending American culture. He felt different personality than when speaking Vietnamese, and “I was a sunny, upbeat, silly, and sometimes wickedly sharp-tongued kid” (P.7), he says. And also, he can imagine bright future in America, like becoming “a movie star” (P.7). The moments, he can moved to forward by adapting new culture and it is defensive from old memories for young immigrant children.
However, for parents, it is hard to accept new cultures like their children. Not only because of they spent so many times in their homeland or language problem, and also especially for Lam’s father, he was a proud general, a warrior fighting in a civil war (P. 23); he was really disappointed by losing Vietnam War. He has extreme powerful memories and stories about Vietnam (P. 31). When he ordered Lam to not speak English at home, Lam fells silence, it broke his hearts; silence is very rude attitude more than arguing. And Lam’s mother also felt sorrow by leaving homeland and losing war as a general’s wife. When Lam was telling his family story to his friend, then she was upset to him. She says him to stop telling family secrets (P. 37); she felt it was shameful to talking about losing war story. Because of parents still couldn’t forget old memories and accept new culture, like their children, as a result, children’s innocent attitude makes their parent disappoint.
Immigrant children disappoint their parents by growing apart from their parents, but it is only because they have to look forward and adapt new culture quickly. And for parents, it is not easy to look forward like their children. For children, they are good at adapting new culture quickly and honest, but sometime it makes their parents who look their behind sad. But, children have to go forward for their new world. Both, parents and children have their own sorrow and they are both victims of war. Both need to understand and face to their reality to go forward.

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Revised Text: Growing Up In Two Cultures


People who have experienced war are all victims of war.

In "Perfume Dreams", Andrew Lam, an author who came from Vietnam as a refugee, tells his sufferings growing up in two different cultures; two different ideas of history, two civilizations, two traditions, two languages, and two sets of behaviors (P. 34).

He was distressed by these changes in his childhood. However, he could be a different person by speaking English. It made him feel free. Lam says “the immigrant child, wanting the larger world, shunning the old ways, inexorably breaks his parents’ heart” (P. 35). I think that immigrant children disappoint their parents by growing apart from their parents because they have to look forward and adapt to the new culture quickly. For parents, it is not easy to look forward like their children.

Most young refugee children have tragic memories in their background and they try to adapt to the new culture by going forward as quickly as they can. For Lam, most his memories of Vietnam are, in his words, “Old World tragedy” (P. 5). He and his family had experienced the Vietnam War, when he was only eleven years old. When he was in the refugee camp he always saw many people in sorrow and the many people who lost their families during the war. The sound of weeping was his refugee camp lullaby (P. 21).

But, his tragic memories were improved by experiencing American culture. He felt a different personality than when he was speaking Vietnamese, and “I was a sunny, upbeat, silly, and sometimes wickedly sharp-tongued kid” (P.7). He also could imagine a bright future in America, like becoming “a movie star” (P.7). The moments he moved forward by adapting to the new culture were a defense against the old memories for the young immigrant child.

However, for parents it is hard to accept new cultures like their children do, not only because they spent so much time in their homeland or the language problems. It was especially hard for Lam’s father who was a proud general, a warrior fighting in a civil war (P. 23). He was really disappointed by losing the Vietnam War and had extremely powerful memories and stories about Vietnam (P. 31).

When he ordered Lam to not speak English at home, Lam fell into silence and it broke his father's heart. Silence was a more rude attitude more than arguing. Lam’s mother also felt sorrow for leaving her homeland and losing the war as a general’s wife. When Lam was telling his family story to his friend, she was upset with him. She told him to stop telling family secrets (P. 37). She felt it was shameful talking about losing the war.

Because the parents couldn’t forget old memories and accept the new culture like their children, the children’s innocent attitudes made their parents disappointed.

Immigrant children disappoint their parents by growing apart from them, but it is only because they have to look forward and adapt to the new culture quickly. For parents, it is not easy to look forward like their children. Children are good at adopting new cultures quickly and honestly, but sometime it makes their parents, who look back, sad. But, children have to go forward into their new world. Both parents and children have their own sorrows and they are all victims of war. All need to understand and face their reality to go forward.

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