When memory speaks: Transnational remembrances in Vietnam war literature

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Abstract

This article offers a brief overview of the problems in representations of the Vietnam War and the Vietnamese people, in Vietnamese, American, and Vietnamese American literatures. Each literary corpus ideologically politicizes collective and individual memory about the war to serve a certain political agenda. Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War and Dang Thuy Tram’s Last Night I Dreamed of Peace—two narratives written from the perspective of the Vietnamese victims of the war—which are selected for textual analysis in this article, with an emphasis on traumatic memories and suffering, debunk the myth of the just cause of the war claimed by the United States and decenter the Euro-Americacentric view on trauma and human suffering, thus challenging the common, one-dimensional perceptions about the Vietnamese and the Vietnam war in American cultural politics and memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-489
Number of pages27
JournalSoutheast Asian Studies
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War
  • Dang Thuy Tram’s Last Night I Dreamed of Peace
  • Postcolonial discourse
  • Trauma
  • Vietnam war
  • Vietnamese literature

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