An analysis of The Happiest Refugee by Ahn Do

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An analysis of The Happiest Refugee by Ahn Do

Texts often aim at exploring social issues, and encourage readers to respond to them in different ways by positioning them to agree with the ideas of the text. The biographical text 'The Happiest Refugee' written by the narrator of the text, Ahn Do, invites readers to observe events, participate emotionally, understand his experiences and to respond to the characters. Ahn Do uses written techniques and conventions (including use of language) to engage readers and position them to react in particular ways. Readers are positioned to respond to the characters Ahn Do himself, his hard work, his courage, his success, his Mum, her personality, his entire family, and the pirates through the events that were created through text.

Reading about Ahn Do's childhood having to struggle with poverty generates sympathy towards him. Ahn talks about his job of pamphlet delivery at the age of fourteen to earn money and help his mother and the rest of his family out financially. Ahn mentions the hardship he went through during the job through first person point of view such as 'I slung the straps over my shoulders and it was lumpy and unbalanced' carrying a forty kilogram worth of pamphlets in his old school bag and 'Ten p.m. that night we slumped into bed absolutely exhausted. We still had about third to go…I'd never intended for my whole family to have to labour with me; the idea was for Mum to work less…sitting at a table madly trying to squeeze in my homework'. Through this technique, readers to how he felt, what happened to him and how it made him feel which invite the readers to respond with sympathy towards his problems with money at a young age.

Readers are positioned to react in a warm, positive manner towards Ahn's Mum. This has been achieved through the use of dialogue in the event where his Mum invites their distant cousin and her daughter 'to stay' when Ahn is fifteen and his family is 'pretty close to being flat...
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