Themes Of Pride And Sacrifice

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The Complexity of Forgetting

In the short story Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice by Nam Le, readers are acknowledged the reason behind the conflict between the two protagonists, the father and the son, that it is rooted from overly strict nurturing. Not to let readers dislike the character of the father too far, the story of Thanh, the father, about his experience in Vietnam War is inserted to offer the reason of his suffering from the memory of the war which, perhaps, leads him to bring up Nam, the narrator and his son, strictly as if his life is in the war camp. Even Nam himself, after listens to his father's experience again, he empathically states that, “For a moment I became my father, watching his sleeping
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He avoids mentioning about the experience in Vietnam War all along; it indicates that his experience might be very dissatisfied. Also, the image of a pink monk robe (p.16) in front of his eyes is enough to explain the horror of the war, and the reason he does not want to mention it. But, astonishingly, at least to me, Thanh frankly tells this experience to his friends despite the sitting of his son in the same circle. Yet, his manner obviously shows that the story is matter to him greatly for, from page 14-16, Thanh speaks it out confidently in full detail; the images in the past are still vivid in his mind as though he usually recalls to them. Additionally, he does not stumble. Thanh treats the story simply as if he already gets used to it and proudly exchanges this memory with others. Even though he does it because he is drunk, as Nam said, it is not an ordinary act of a person who wants to forget to share his memory in simply manner, especially if it is unpleasant or undesirable to him indeed. Besides, except from avoid mentioning, Thanh also says that, "They will read and clap their hands and forget" (p.25) when his son asks to write about his story. That is to say, he sometimes takes the story about his experience very serious that he even opposes the idea of his son to share his story. Ironically, in the drinking party, he ends …show more content…
I'll remember… Sometimes it's better to forget, no?" (p.25). In one dialogue, his speech seems to be confusing that it is mixed up by two ideas. Thanh persuades his son not to write his story for he does not want to share it with other people. Yet, the case is, it seems that he does not certain if he wants to remember or to forget. It does not clear here whether he wants only himself and his son to remember, as stated in the beginning of the dialogue, or he wants his son and himself to forget, as he asks at the end of the dialogue. Again, Thanh offers to forget; the conversation implies that he also does not achieve so. Furthermore, by saying 'sometimes', maybe he just says it like an intro word which means nothing; or, interestingly, it suggests, then, that there are other times which are not necessary to forget. These other times may include the time he names his son after Vietnam – Nam – too. Considering Nam's statement, "To my father there was no other name – only mine, and he had named me after the homeland he had given up." (p.20) The first sentence has two interpretations. The first meaning is that he is the only one who his father cares. The second is that the word – Nam – is very significant to his father that no other names can win over his mind when he entitles Nam with this name. Naming his own son after the homeland where the events took place is

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