Stealing Buddha's Dinner

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Hungry Hope
The foreigner’s perception of America has an array of strange customs, traditions and products that many American born people don’t see. Immigrants tend to find their sense of belonging and identity through paths. These paths usually follow an outsiders perspective of how America is stereotyped. The novel, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, by Bich Minh Nguyen, shows Bich’s attempt to believe that she fits into American society. When Bich moved from Vietnam to Grand Rapids, Michigan, she had the intention of becoming American. Her father marries Rose, a new mother-figure to Bich, who Bich feels holds her back in her quest to feel more American. Throughout the book, Bich keeps bringing up the term “missing-ness” when she talks about her past, and her thoughts about where she is today. Bich Minh Nguyen found her belonging through the foreigners stereotypes of America such as food, money, and names.

Fitting into American has been a major topic for my English courses for the last 3 years. From an inside perspective, it doesn’t seem very hard to be able to fit into a country where just about anything is acceptable. Known as “the melting pot” of different cultures, America should be welcoming to non-Americans. The father describes a dramatic moment in their immigration process when he says, “We are people without a country, until we walk out of that gate, and then we are American” (Nguyen, 10). The family is lost, a free agent before they take their first steps on American soil. A powerful experience that they will surely never forget. Seeing all the American people, Bich describes her first moments unwelcoming, saying, “Come on in. Now Transform. And if you cannot, then disappear” (Nguyen, 11). Facing a crown that seems unfriendly, Bich turns to other different ways to belong in America.

Food in America is distinctly different from that of food in other countries. We have many options, and from ones couch an American can even order food that derives...
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