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Butler, “Snow”

I have found through the reading of Butler’s stories that I am always transported. I am transported to a different time, or a different place. What I enjoy about his work is that it is both foreign to and familiar to me. What I mean is,  Butler knows that English-speaking people will read his stories, but, since these stories all have to do with the Vietnamese, they have elements of things an American might not have knowledge of. “Snow” is no exception; we have two characters of totally different backgrounds. They are united by one thing; neither of them are from America.

I liked that Butler reminds the reader that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Some people celebrate Christmas because it is a good excuse to have time off from work or to spend time with family.

I also enjoyed that this speaker is the most articulate of any in the stories we have read so far this semester. This character is more observant, I think. I also like how Butler added a character who was able to crack the emotional code that his Vietnamese characters seem to hide. It seems to me that his Vietnamese people do not like to express fear, hope, sadness, and hate. The only other exception is Butler’s “Love,” in which the man showed jealousy and anger. Through this new character, he has him directly asking why this person is afraid of snow. I think it is important to point out that in some Eastern cultures, direct questions relating to internal feelings are met with evasive answers, unlike in Western cultures where  people speak more freely about themselves and others are expected to reciprocate.

I really love Butler’s stories. I enjoy the cultural aspects to them. I enjoy the religious differences. I even enjoy his use of fairy tales and off-the-normal-path topics, as in this story in which he shows a new side to a Vietnamese woman. What I mean by this is how she is more American than the Vietnamese women in other Butler stories. She is more interested in how someone else feels about her. She is curious about what this other man is thinking. She asks questions. I like that she has a mother who is always worrying about her, if she will get married. Though this can be found in many cultures, the fact that she is in her thirties and is still living with her mother just feels more American. This is not like his other characters. But the way he writes you know that this character is still foreign.

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