American Dream Boat
The culture that people belong to is an important aspect of the human society. It gives people individuality and enables them to know their origins. It, therefore, means that when people embrace their culture, they have a sense of collectivity and identity. Being a part of a culture, a person is in a position to also respect mentality and way of life of other people. Sometimes it is difficult to accept fully one or another culture due to certain out-fashioned ideas or fundamental rules that do not allow a person to advance and keep up with the times. In case definite cultural aspects may prevent individuals from living their lives normally, these concepts should be given a second thought (Oanh 68). It is significant to recognize that culture is an important part of any society. Consequently, no matter how far people move from their homes, their culture should remain an integral part of their lives.
Stuart in the “American Dream Boat” story narrates of a girl who arrives in America at a young age and takes great pains to learn American culture. She prioritizes her American status to the extent of trying to forget her Vietnamese origins. The young girl even changes her name intending to get recognition as an American. She joins the company of native US children and spends a lot of time swimming and playing tennis. The protagonist compares her life with that of her neighbors living across the street and realizes that there are some differences in several aspects. In addition, her parent does not let her out of the house, and this fact prods her to be identified with another culture even more. She loses her Asian accent and also gets very good education that enables her to feel American. From the story it is apparent that when two cultures interact, one of them may tend to influence the other, and if the dominant culture is very strong it might lead to assimilation of the members of the minority culture. In this case, US culture has very strong influences on young Krystin, who now wants to completely forget about her origins. However, strict parenting still helps her to recognize her culture as significant. She is now living the Vietnamese lifestyle, and therefore retains her cultural identify to some extent (Stuart 45).
When people forget their culture, they get out of touch with their roots. At some point of life, a person may feel like an essential part of them is missing. This may prompt the individual to go back to their roots, the place of birth in order to find out more about their nature. Just before Krystin’s wedding, she recognizes that she has become an American in a greater degree than a Vietnamese. She has fallen out of touch with her origins. She is even opposed to the idea that her spouse should bring dowry gifts to her home according to the Vietnamese tradition. Her parents insist and make her concede to their demands and finally, she engages her fiancé on the issues of dowry gifts. Having lost touch with her culture, the protagonist decides to go back to her home of birth to regain her identity and obey the instinct that asks her to try one more time and be herself again. In trying to reconnect with her original culture, she gives a list of places she visits to be able to remember where she originally came from. These include her birthing home and old house. The author gives details of how she had been changed by the new culture to the extent that she writes a book about her experience (Oanh 69).
Culture entails foods, styles of clothing, language and way of life in general. All these aspects give people a kind of uniqueness that makes them a recognized and special group of people with their own values, beliefs and norms. As indicated in Krystin’s story, in her Vietnamese culture the traditional kind of food is a bit different from the US one. However, when her fiancé visits Vietnam and eats the traditional Vietnamese food, she gets immediate endorsement of her family members since her relatives see Scott as a person who respects cultures distinct from his. Multiculturalism, therefore, comes out as an important aspect in interactions between different nations. This cultural diversity leads to greater interaction and increase of understanding between people. Just as Krystin ate the American food while living in America, it was a good thing for her fiancé to also eat the traditional Vietnamese food (Oanh 70).