March 29, 2011
Literary Essay: Around the River Bend
Have you ever heard your mom nagging, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, that’s this story’s lesson except this short story does it better. In literature, authors frequently write about one character who is looking for someone to hold responsible for all their problems. In the short story, Around the River Bend, by Sherry Garland, the narrator blames all Vietnamese for her brother’s death. Through a chance encounter with a South Vietnamese soldier, the narrator learns not to judge by appearance alone or without correct facts. This is also known as “don’t judge a book by its cover”.
In the beginning of the story, the narrator blames all Vietnamese for her brother’s death. The evidence for that is there is four times in which she refers to all Vietnamese as bad people. In the prelude it states, “Soldiers from the US and South Vietnam are training at the camp. Those sounds make her think of Vietnam ----and the war that claimed her brother.” Also when she is listening to the choppers she says, “…My heart grew sick, thinking of the waste of so many lives. And for what? Some country that I never heard of? Who cares what happens to them?” When Trung reveals he is Vietnamese, she says, “You’re Vietnamese?’ I said recoiling from his hand.’ What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be out in the jungles fighting your stinking war?” Clearly she said that she hates all Vietnamese, in the beginning.
The narrator didn’t have the correct facts. She didn’t know the facts and that caused her to think that all Vietnamese are responsible for her brother’s death. She didn’t know the North Vietnamese were fighting the South Vietnamese. She didn’t know the whole story. She didn’t know, but when after she told her side of the story, Trung says, “All American brave….help my village build wall to keep out the North Vietnamese……My mother cook fish for soldier name Joe Bailey.” Then Trung...
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