Do you agree with nguyen’s distinction?

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This explication (close analysis) paper should respond to ONE prompt provided to demonstrate critical thought and analysis in 750-1000 words (3-4 pages). This paper should integrate theoretical frameworks and concepts covered in lecture, the assigned readings, and your personal reflections and connections to the texts. This integration papers should be written argumentatively and academically and present you with an opportunity to dialogue with the author(s) with me to demonstrate your engagement and understanding of course materials up until this point.
Your explication paper should include the following:
What are the issues/problems that the author(s) are engaging with and what are the questions driving their research?
What are the key terms, concepts, and arguments that the author(s) discuss? Why is this material relevant to Vietnamese American identity?
What is the evidence that the author(s) provide that substantiates their argument? How do they make their case?
How do the readings for this unit connect to lectures and other readings in the course that have been covered so far? How does this material frame or shape Vietnamese America?
What points do the author(s) make that you find most compelling or that you have critiques of? What questions are you left with? Does the material counter any preexisting dominant notions of Vietnamese America and/or Vietnamese American literature?
How do the themes/topics that are covered relate to your personal experience/prompt you to reflect upon your experience in a particular way?
PROMPT 1: Viet Thanh Nguyen, also a diasporic Vietnamese American writer who arrived as a refugee as a young child, has written in several public fora (see: articles by VTN assigned previously in class) about the difference between “refugee” and “immigrant” literature: for Nguyen, refugees do not have a choice for the most part, and threaten the integrity of the host nation in a way that immigrants (who presumably make a choice to migrate, make efforts towards assimilation, and may return to their place of origin should they so choose) do not. Do you agree with Nguyen’s distinction? How would you read The Best We Could Do and Vietnamerica along the lines Nguyen suggests? How do the stories of Thi Bui and GB Tran’s families’ survival from poverty, war, escape, and resettlement in the U.S. inform our understanding of the refugee experience in the United States? How does this narrative challenge the model minority myth that assumes Asian Americans have attained social and economic success and do not experience racism?
OR
PROMPT 2: How would you describe the complex interplay between self-determined, colonial-determined, and state-determined freedom in the refugee narrative? How do The Best We Could Do and Vietnamerica handle the paradox of freedom as it is commonly played out in the United States: that it is least available to those who are most in need of its abstract promise? What are the similarities and differences between narratives of freedom in this refugee narrative and U.S. nationalist doctrines? Do these similarities and differences unexpectedly position the refugee experience at the heart of the U.S. mythos and configurations of the “American Dream”. If so, how might we reckon with this realization? How do these questions intersect with questions of gender and socio-economic status, especially in the narrator’s accounts of her mother’s and father’s struggles in both Viet Nam and the United States?

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