February 8, 2012
Nonfiction Reaction Paper
The nonfiction stories I have decided to write about are; “Who Will Light the Incense When Mother’s Gone?” by Andrew Lam and “Salvation” by Langston Hughes. Both of these stories are about a significant event in the authors lives in which they choose to write about. “Salvation” is a story about the author trying to find his way into the church and finally see the light or Jesus so his soul will be saved and his sins forgiven. ; “Who Will Light the Incense When Mother’s Gone?” was a writing about his mother having a hard time with the American culture and how her son, the author Andrew Lam, will be when he leaves home and how the traditions she raised him on slowly will disappear along with her when she passes along. Both stories seem to send a message of events in the author’s lives where they wrote about them because of certain memories in their lives, and I will briefly go through each story in different ways. Summary of Strategies by the Authors
I think Langston Hughes in “Salvation” tries to get the reader to imagine a hot sweltering church on a balmy Sunday morning. This would be the setting for the young boy at 12 years of age trying to see Jesus in another aspect because he is becoming of age for the church. The authors strategy is not to confuse the reader but to make the reader understand that Langston was not lying about seeing Jesus but in fact did not believe in Jesus because he left the boy by himself and did not rescue him from all the people in the church getting impatient of him “and I hadn’t seen Jesus, and that now I didn’t believe there was a Jesus any more, since he didn’t come to help me” (Hughes 2003 p. 352). Also with his friend using the lord’s name in vain and lying in the church “God had not struck Westley dead for taking his name in vain or lying in the temple” (Hughes 2003 p. 352) and nothing happened to him when he lied just to be ‘saved’ because he was tired of waiting to be saved by seeing the light.
In Andrew Lam’s “Who Will Light the Incense When Mother’s Gone?” the author is trying to get the reader to understand that tradition should not die but along with life things such as tradition will change as life does. In the story his mother is 70 years old now and is afraid many of her traditions and faith will not be carried along by her family. Many things from our ancestors are no longer being practiced today as they were back then, hence life changes as well as people and traditions. “I share her fear that her generation and its memories of the Old World, what preserves us as a community, will fade away like incense smoke” (Lam 2003, p 1078). The story entails a family coming from Vietnamese heritage trying to practice certain cultures in America. The author, the son in this story, is growing up in America and his mother does not want her son speak more Vietnamese while at home when he was a teenager “No,” I answered in English, “what good is it to speak it? It’s not as if I am going to use it after I move out.” (Lam 2003, p 1078) The authors’ strategy here is just showing the reader that the narrator of the story, also the author, is caught up with growing up in America and bonding with the cultures he will be continuing with through in his life in America even though he was born in a different country. Personal Relation
I can personally relate to the theme of “Who Will Light the Incense When Mother’s Gone?” and “Salvation” from my childhood. Both stories take me back to my grandmother when I was growing up as a catholic. My grandmother was solid catholic women active in the church and she was stern on the catholic upbringing and would not pressure for church attendance but would ‘highly’ recommend it weekly. The story salvation to me was more like going through reconciliation or confirmation, two of the seven sacraments. In the story “Salvation”, when the young boy was trying to understand...