Disgrace: Living a Deceitful Life (Catfish and Mandala)

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  • Topic: Vietnamese people, American people of Vietnamese descent, Andrew X. Pham
  • Pages : 4 (1423 words )
  • Download(s) : 1450
  • Published : November 9, 2008
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Disgrace: Living a Deceitful Life

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
- Carl Gustav Jung

With life come many trials and tribulations. With hope come many wishes and dreams of a life that could be. And with change comes the unexpected transformations that were at once thought impossible. In Andrew X. Pham’s The Catfish and Mandala: A 2 Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam, he tells an autobiography of his life, including both the big and little details that helped make him who he is today. On his journey to Vietnam, he meets an elderly man named Quan. Quan tells Andrew that Chi, Andrew’s late sister, became “too American” (184). Analyzing Quan’s statement along with other events in Andrew’s life and family, since Chi was born in Vietnam, the girl part of her remains intact with her Vietnamese heritage, but when she came to America and received a sex change by adding male genitalia, she took away her Vietnamese side and tried to identify as a new American Male.

Throughout the autobiography, Andrew continuously returns to the point of his Vietnamese heritage and his American lifestyle. In the story, Andrew frequently switches from present to past and then from past to present. Not only does this add insight to events that happened throughout his life, but this writing style also helps find deeper meaning into why things are happening in his present life. Andrew tells about his family, his immigration, his life as a child growing up in Vietnam and also his life as a kid growing up in America. In this novel, Andrew Pham recalls a journey he took back to Vietnam. Along the way, Andrew includes many relationships that were formed and bonds that were made that helped him see what he wanted out of life. Andrew had two brothers, one sister who was born in America, and one sister who had a sex change. Both of Andrew’s brothers were gay and his sister who was born in Vietnam,...
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