Crickets

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Crickets by Robert Olen Butler – an essay
Coming to America can be difficult in itself. Adjusting to the cultural and social part of a new country is a big task when you’re a Vietnamese soldier who doesn’t speak a word of English. But when your only child is letting go of the central values that are a big part of your own world – you can’t stop to wonder what you can do to change this situation. This is the condition that Thieu, the main character of “Crickets”, finds himself in.

“Crickets”, by Robert Olen Butler, is a story about a man, Thieu, and his relationship with his son, Bill. The story starts with Thieu describing himself and his life up until now. Thieu, also known as Ted in America, and his wife have raised their son, Bill, as an American, but this extreme integration into the culture presents a gap in the father-son relationship. Even though Ted and his wife are from Vietnam, their son Bill was conceived and born in America. The narrator describes himself as a fighter, hard working, a good father and a great husband. Thieu escaped to America to get away from the war, which is a sign of knowing what is the best thing for his family. This is again underlined by the fact that Ted fled from the war and the army. Everybody knew what he did was wrong but he didn’t care. He only cared for himself and his wife. As he was growing up, Bill was raised as an American, and by forcing Bill into assuming the American ways; Ted’s relationship with his son suffers progressively. Other than their relationship, the “Vietnamese” part of Bill is gradually disappearing. He is starting to talk like a “normal” American. This is reflected in the way Bill talks, which the reader also gets an insight to through Ted’s narration: “Have a good day y’all”. The reader experiences the distance between the two characters through an afternoon activity that they both pursue. Ted tries to teach Bill the Vietnamese tradition of fighting crickets. This Vietnamese tradition proceeds...
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