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“Mid-Autumn”

“My little one, I was once very young.  I was sixteen and I was very beautiful and I met Bao when he was seventeen.  It was at the most wonderful time of year for lovers to meet, at the Mid-Autumn Festival.”

Butler’s “Mid-Autumn” gives off a failed fairy tale vibe, with a dash of hope to help us enjoy the short piece.  The narrator in the piece has had very real struggles in her life, losing the man she loves, moving to a foreign country, and conceiving a child with a man who can never replace Bao. She, however, never lets this influence the way she speaks to her unborn child.  She addresses her daughter as if she already knows her, loves her, would die for her.  This makes the reader feel for the mother, it makes us see her in a different light than the standard woman.  She is Vietnamese, but she now is adjusting to being an American woman, an American mother.  The way in which Butler writes this story, how he draws the reader in with this conversation between a caring mother and an unborn, cherished child, lets the reader relate to the narrator by connecting to her motherly emotions and her memories of her former life and experiences with love.  Bao shaped the way the young woman felt about love and men, and as she watches her husband walk through the front door and grasp her with a loving hand, the reader cannot help but feel pain for the narrator who wishes the hand belonged to Bao.  Butler envelops several memories into a maternity situation.  The birth of this child is the release of the pain associated with the loss of Bao, a new beginning with a new life.  Not just the life of her child, but the life of the new “her”.

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