In Andrew Lam's “Birds of Paradise Lost” and Viet Thanh Nguyen's “The Immolation,” the act of self-immolation is perceived differently by members of the first-generation and second-generation Vietnamese Americans. In a larger context, both stories demonstrate how violent memory threatens familial harmony yet fosters a sense of community among Vietnamese Americans. Furthermore, the narratives address such crucial issues within the Vietnamese diasporic communities as cultural and political identity, generational conflicts, the collective memory, and the role of the United States media in manipulating the news.
Vietnamese American short fiction, anti-communism, violent memory, Vietnamese diasporic community, generational conflicts, transnational identity
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