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Butler’s story “Crickets” is brief, but then, that’s a good thing. The concept he uses this time is an overtly familiar one: the children of immigrant parents are disappointing because they shed elements of their cultural heritage in order to be more, usually, American. I have read quite a few stories like this in Spanish classes. So the question is – what did Butler do to make this story unique/interesting?

Usually, in disappointing children stories, the parents proudly hold themselves separate from American culture. However, in “Crickets”, the father tells us at the beginning that he had an American name that, while it bothers him sometimes, he has accepted. He is well-educated; if the mention of his employment as a chemical engineer didn’t clue us in, his lyrical eloquence, like that of the narrator in “The Trip Back” certainly should have. He realized the advantages of being American even when his son was born and gave him an American name. The father tells us that sometimes, to his son’s chagrin, he farewells his son in Vietnamese. However, at the end of the story, he says “‘See you later, Bill'”, which, obviously, is an American farewell.

So, unlike the other disappointing children stories that I’ve read, Butler lets his character have a subtler and more complex relationship with his disappointment. Instead of being angry and closed-minded about his offspring’s decisions, he both accepts them and recognizes that he has no legitimate reason not to. However, he is still disappointed, and that is the human truth of the story.

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