A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain English Literature Essay

The book A Good Aroma from a Strange Mountain written by Robert Olen Butler, a celebrated modern American fiction author, consists of several short narratives which are narrated by the Vietnamese who live in the United States of America. This aggregation of short narratives is built in such a manner that all the characters are interrelated and serve to develop the chief subject of the book: to picture both the Vietnamese and the Americans. All of the storytellers are the immigrants who came to Louisiana from Vietnam in order to acquire their life back together after the Vietnam War. Their communities are separated by the North and the South lines every bit good as they were in Vietnam. Furthermore they differ in the spiritual positions as Catholics and Buddhists.

It is known that this book A Good Aroma from a Strange Mountain was a great success with the readers and even won the Pulitzer award for fiction in 1993. That is why it is really of import to pay particular attending to some facts from the writer ‘s life in order to do a good analysis of the literary work and to compare and contrast the Catholic and the Buddhist as required in the essay.

Robert Olen Butler has a certain relation to the Vietnamese because he served in Vietnam in 1969-1971 as a counter-intelligence agent and subsequently as a transcriber and even obtained a rank of a sergeant. May be that was the chief ground of his great desire to compose short narratives which depicted the Vietnamese whom he considered to be “ the warmest, most opening and welcoming people ” . Due to his literary plants 1000s of Americans every bit good as the readers from other states of the universe have seen what sort of people are the existent Vietnamese and the Vietnam War ‘s impact on them.

All the narratives included in the book touch upon the subject of faith both the Catholic and the Buddhist. It is necessary to state that the chief characters speak in the manner of great spiritualty and they are certain that that faith is a critical thing for them.

Let ‘s comparison and contrast the Catholic and the Buddhist and so turn out the fact that Robert Olen Butler made everything possible in his book A Good Aroma from a Strange Mountain to demo the readers the significance of faith in the life of any individual. This subject is near to the writer because he was the participant of barbarous military actions of Americans in Vietnam, he saw the decease of peaceable people, he felt their agonies and sorrows, he obtained the apprehension of their civilization and linguistic communication.

It is known that Buddhist does non believe in God and have no prophesier. The Buddhist have neither a supplication nor a Bible. But the most of import thing is that the Buddhist believes that when you dye you will reborn one time once more.

Talking about the Catholic they have rather different features of their spiritual constructs. The Catholics believe in God. They have Jesus. They can state about their wickednesss to the priest. They pray and have a Bible. The Catholic believes that after decease they will travel to heaven or hell.

All the events described in the book are connected with each other in a manner. Here are the rubrics of the short narratives which form the book:

Open Weaponries

Mr. Green

The Trip Back

Fairy Tale


Letterss from my Father


Mid-Autumn and in the Clearing

A Ghost Story


The American Couple

A Good Aroma from a Strange Mountain

I think it is necessary to analyse some of them in order to see that all the characters have a spiritual footing in their actions.

For illustration the first short narrative Open Arms which begins during the Vietnam War pays the readers ‘ attending to the unmoral actions of the Australian soldiers who made the chief character Thap to test adult movies. Thap was a North Vietnamese Communist who became the undercover agent in the Australian forces. He could non set up with unfairness and inhuman treatment and at the terminal of the narrative he kills the Australian soldier and himself.

The 2nd narrative told by a Catholic adult female shows that she does non desire to set up with her gramps ‘s thought of misogynism. She is Catholic, she lives in the USA. But the parrot is the lone thing that remind her of her ascendants. She says: “ I ‘m a Catholic, the girl of a Catholic female parent and male parent, and I do non believe in the worship of my ascendants, particularly in the signifier of a parrot ” . Her gramps explained her that “ the psyche of our ascendants continue to necessitate love and attending and devotedness ” but he did non allowed her to idolize her ascendants because she was a miss.

A Ghost Story tells us about the spirit of some adult female who was really beautiful. First she helps the work forces to avoid their decease but after that she returns in order to eat them.

A Fairy Tale, the other narrative of Robert Olen Butler, tell about Vietnamese cocotte Miss Noi who came to the USA with her hubby. She returns to the work of a cocotte once more. But her meeting with a Vietnam War veteran changes her life.

She is a Catholic adult female. Here the writer once more turns his character to faith: “ I pray in my small room in Saigon. I am a Catholic miss and I have a big statue of Mary in my room. That Statue is Mary the female parent of Godaˆ¦ I pray to Maryaˆ¦ and I talk to her ” .

Here and in the remainder of short narratives included in the book A Good Aroma from a Strange Mountain we find that the writer ever refers to the faith. And that is the chief point of all his plants.

In decision I should state that Robert Olen Butler was the first author who did non concentrate on the American Soldiers and the Vietnam War itself. His characters are mere Vietnamese with their jobs and with their sorrows and joys. That is great that such a individual as Robert Olen Butler could talk on behalf of the Vietnamese Americans. Although there are some critics who think that he maintains distance to the Vietnamese civilization and that merely true Vietnamese can compose such narratives. I do non believe so because I am certain that Robert Olen Butler is an honest and high-hearted individual who respects the linguistic communication, the civilization and the faith of the Vietnamese.

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