Essay Journey to Freedom

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Short Story – Journey to Freedom, By Hai-Van Nguyen, aged 18. In this short story, Nguyen tells her story about her journey from Vietnam to Australia and expresses the change his family faces throughout this long and hard journey. Nguyen also expresses of how she believes they transitioned from being ‘nobody’ to a ‘number’. She also expresses her feelings towards numbers and how the people behind the numbers and statistics are forgotten and all that is remembered are the numbers. In the second paragraph Nguyen states her amazement that after everything her parents have survived through and feared for, they are still able to recall the chilling numbers that has set history in their lives, Nguyen says, “...and it amazes me they recall them so easily. ‘It’s something one never forgets’ my mother says. ‘You wear it in your mind,’ she says, ‘long after the chalk has been erased.’ A prisoner never forgets his number.” By this you’re able to see how the numbers that either broke or made people’s lives are forever imprinted in their minds. Nguyen seems to be caught between, angered at the fact that people are replaced in reality by numbers, to being quite curious and intrigued at the fact that one never forgets these types of things, such as a number in a queue of their lives. As Nguyen says in paragraph three, “Long after human atrocities have occurred, all we remember are numbers. We remember there were six million victims of the holocaust and one million casualties during the Vietnam War. More recently, we hear about the ‘765 people’ who are ‘unauthorised boat arrivals’ and the ‘228 detainees’ currently in ‘detention’ in Woomera. We’re hearing politicians justify their actions with phrases like ‘Australia is accepting an ample number of refugees for an industrial country’. As usual issues involving human lives become overshadowed by numbers that relegate people to the status of mere statistics. We remember numbers, but we forget the...
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