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Character Analysis: We Should Never Meet

Decent Essays
We Should Never Meet Paper
The U.S is seen as a safe haven for many refugees and immigrants around the world and that those who have made it are the “lucky ones” however, Author Aimee Phan discusses this common misconception in her novel We Should Never Meet. We Should Never Meet is a collection of short stories about how the Vietnamese War has effected its citizens still living in Vietnam or who fled to the United States in search of a safer home. In one short story, Emancipation, Phan gives readers a look into the life of Mai, a Vietnamese girl who was smuggled to America at the age of five. While the story is told by Mai in first person she is used more as median to show the differences in lives between her four friends Tiffany and Haun,
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Both children had been fully adopted by their families and, while Mai was provided with everything she needed growing up Tiffany and Haun had been supplied with so much more. Tiffany and Haun had met each other first, at their private elementary school, and later met Mai in high school. While all three children are equally intellectual Mai explains the first level of separation between them in her inner dialogue, “Haun and Tiffany didn’t even bother filling out the FASA forms or applying for scholarships” (Phan 155) which, in short, states that their parents are of the wealthier class. Tiffany’s parents co-owned a seafood restaurant in Newport Beach, where they went all share plates of lobster, shrimp, and mahi-mahi and drink ginger ale out of champagne glasses and, while there isn’t much told of Haun’s parents, it is assumed he is of the same social class because, “His fraternity sponsors a ski trip wo Vermont every year [where] they rent out a block of condos for the long weekend” and because of this wealth gap Tiffany and Haun are unable to see difficulties Mai’s faces for college and the rest of her life following her eighteenth birthday. This is shown through their discussion of Mai’s application to Wellesley, a college Tiffany had already been accepted to. Mai is told numerous things along the lines of Tiffany got in Mai will most definitely be accepted and that the Reynolds will help her pay…show more content…
While Mai feels unlucky that the Reynolds never chose to fully adopt her, she is considered to be lucky by Kim and Vinh because, they never received actual parent like figures. In fact in Kim’s case, she had been adopted and seen the potential of having a family however, she was returned to social services because her adoptive parents had not realized, “how difficult would be to raise a foreign child” (Phan 150). Since then Kim had stayed in the foster care system with Vinh until their eighteenth birthday. Because of the instability of their childhood Kim and Vinh couldn’t sympathies with the insecurities and difficulties Mai was facing with her emancipation, Kim even threw Mai a party to celebrate her leaving her foster family behind, she says to Mai, “It’s your birthday. No, it’s more than that it’s your emancipation day. Freedom from this damn state. No more visits or lectures from the social worker. You could even move out!” (Phan 163) because, in her world, it was a day to celebrate. Kim and Vinh differ greatly from Mai, tiffany, and Haun for reasons other than they family situation. Kim and Vinh have had to support themselves their entire life, Kim working day and night at a restaurant and Vinh joining a gang, while the others fad a family that took
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