Who Will Light Ince When Mother's Gone

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Analysis: “Who Will Light Incense When Mother’s Gone” The story is one of a mother’s love and of a son who feels he has failed to conform to his Vietnamese upbringing in order to fit in with his new culture in America. This happens all too often to people who migrate to America to start a new and better life and achieve the American dream. Sadly, however, the dream and the reality are two different entities and most immigrants find themselves continuously working harder to make that dream a reality only to come crashing back to earth in utter failure as they soon realize, as Lam did, that his mother’s adoration and respect is what is most important. The theme of this story seems to carry a multitude of themes, beginning with the American Dream / Nightmare and ending with Filial Love, and somewhere in the middle Conformity/Rebellion as Lam reflects on his adolescent years. Asian culture places high value on family and in the Asian culture, it is a very common practice for several generations to live in the same home; the young taking care of the elders of the family who are held in very high regard for their boundless wisdom and knowledge. In America the elderly are discriminated against and held in disdain as no longer useful or productive in our…show more content…
Something in the water, in the airwaves, changed his inner makeup and dulled his Confucian ways,” (Lam 2, 7). Lam, at least concedes that some conformity to bridge the gap with his mother is in order, “We have made peace since then, she and I, but it does not mean that I have become a traditional, incense-lighting Vietnamese son,” (Lam 2,

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