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"Crickets," By Robert Olen Butler Essay

1120 words - 4 pages

Coming to America can be difficult. A father and his new bride have escaped by boat across the terrible sea to come to America from Vietnam. They ended up in the state of Louisiana, where the land was very much like the Mekong Delta, where they grew up. Their child, Bill, was born in America. He was much more Americanized and had little knowledge about his cultural background. The story, "Crickets," by Robert Olen Butler is about a father, who is trying to educate his son to be more Vietnamese. Butler is trying to let his reader understand that coming to a new land as a new immigrant is difficult. In order to have a better life, the father and his new bride struggle to come to America. In other words, you must give up something to receive something in return. We can learn more about this sacrifice by studying the three elements that the author uses to explain his theme. First, the crickets play an important role in this story to help us understand more about the father. Secondly, the tones of the story seem to have sadness and confusion. Thirdly, the irony of the illustrates the generation gap between the father and the son.To summarize the story, Thieu was this immigrant father's real Vietnamese name, but his colleagues often call him Ted where he works at. They have been calling him Ted for a while, and it is still bothering him. He had fought in the war since he was eighteen years old. Thieu had been through a lot of hardship. His new bride and he escaped by boat to come to America, to Louisiana. Sometime it bothers him that these American men are much bigger than him. He feels like he was the size of American women. He had heard New Yorkers on television, and he can speak faster than them. His ten-year-old son began to speak English like other Louisianans. Sometimes when Thieu says good-bye to him in Vietnamese, his son just cracks up as if it was a joke. Bill, his son, doesn't speak any Vietnamese. He is much Americanized.One day, Thieu finds that his son is hanging around the house, bored in the middle of the vacation, and suddenly he realizes that he has a wonderful idea. He wants to share his own childhood game with his son. He is afraid that his son is not in the right frame of mind. He then explains the game to him with one word, "'Cricketmen' " (61). There are two types of crickets: charcoal crickets and fire crickets. The charcoal crickets, "these were very large and strong, but they were slow and they could become confused. The other type was small and brown and we called them fire crickets. They weren't as strong, but they were very smart and quick" (62). These crickets represent the symbolism of the story. The father represents the charcoal crickets and the son represents the fire crickets. The charcoal crickets are very large and strong, but slow and confused. The fire crickets weren't strong, but they were very smart and quick. Sometimes one wins and sometimes the other wins. The fights were very long and full of hard struggle....

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