Monday, June 7, 2010

An Easy Way Out?

I am contemplating the effectiveness of Thanh’s decision to free Mai from her culture by the means of suicide. Thanh’s rationale for her actions is that her death will have a liberating effect on Main and allow her to pursue her own life in American culture. I disagree with her reasoning, although I can see a reasonable thought process. She wants to free Mai to the human obligation, the Mother-Daughter obligation that Mai our feel like she has toward her mother. Personally, I also think that her mother’s reality of the weight of her past, and the traumatic pain that accompanied her with the act of suicide leaves Mai completely alone without anyone to support her as she goes through college.



  1. I agree with your train of mind. I think suicide in any capacity and however one can rationalize it, is a very selfish act. I had the hardest time understanding how Thanh dying set Mai free. Thanh should have tried to reconcile her past and try to connect with Mai in a a different way, not end her life. You are right, the act just left Mai alone to figure out life for herself without her mother's support.


  2. I think it has to be analyzed from a cultural perspective. Thanh believes that Mai inheriting her Karma is as inescapable as heredity. Her attempts to stifle their dishonorable memory coupled with the accompanying acceptance that no assimilation will be made, that she is an exile even to her homeland, all contribute to her decision. It's not something us westerners could understand, I certainly would agree with a separate path.

    -David S.