Saturday, February 4, 2017

Harry Manacsa Week #5 Blog

Harrison Manacsa
Prof. Valverde
4 February 2017
Week #5 Blog Post
Serving as one of its key facets, Nothing Ever Dies looks at the robust literatures that evolved from the war-stricken voices of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Viet Than Nguyen underlines, specifically, the dualities of the U.S.’s intervention.
In Korea, the U.S. acts as a lightning rod for their military-industrial-complex aggression. Nguyen exemplifies Sunny, a story of a Korean woman compelled to prostitution after her husband fights in America’s Vietnam War. Because literatures such as these frame Americans as “atrocious”, many Koreans became distracted from their own government’s army uprising. For Nguyen, these predisposed notions resonate with South Korea’s later economic boom—which now transcends the “Forgotten War”. Nguyen cites Samsung and Hyundai as manifestations of South Korea’s success—arguably because one of their biggest markets is the U.S. which signals a paradigm shift in “who is helping whom”.
All the while, in Vietnam, silenced narratives, influenced by both communism and American appeal, hindered any similar feelings by them. In contrast to Korea, Vietnam’s slower recovery serves as a reminder of the war—thereby leaving narratives of the war still fresh in their minds. Communism enforces against any materials from the war, while America strongly ties Vietnamese-Americans to the war; Nguyen testifies that, “. . . the necessity of speaking up, speaking out, and speaking for remains tied to the name of the ethnic population . . . America will not let [Vietnamese people] forget.” (Nguyen 199) From this, Nguyen now observes that, while the first generation of Vietnamese Americans are generally mute, the newer generations are more vocal about the war on behalf of their families. In other words, while Korea used their literature to forget, Vietnam now uses their literature to remember.
For Vietnamese-Americans today, these generational nuances will ignite movements and initiatives to reconstruct the framework of refugees, model minorities, and Vietnamese cultures. For one, the current library of works by Vietnamese writers are greatly outnumbered by Americans; this perpetuates the stigmas and misunderstandings of topics such as War. Perhaps inclusion of university courses that focus on Vietnamese literature may change the literary dynamics observed by Nguyen.
Question: I like Bo Phi's quote a lot, that , "It's like [the U.S.] only allows us one grief at a time. [Vietnamese] people, you had that war thing. That's all you get. Shut. The fuck. Up." (Nguyen 217) I personally think this is a collective conscious that transcends to all ethnicities. Who do you think enforces this? 
Works Cited: Nguyen, Viet Thanh. Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2016. Print.

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