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“Missing”

The voice in Butler’s “Missing” is unique when compared to the rest of the stories in his collection because it is that of an American man who became acclimated to Vietnamese culture. In all of the previous stories we have read in Butler’s A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain, the narrators have been Vietnamese immigrants to America, specifically Louisiana. This American man was a deserter in the Vietnam war, and like many other American soldiers, he decided to stay in Vietnam. The irony in the story is that even though he has lived and breathed Vietnamese culture for over a decade, he still has blond hair, and in the eyes of the reporter, he is “the lost child of every family in the country with someone whose body was never found” (262). In reality, though, he escaped the consumerism that dominates American culture and became a part of the natural processes that Americans take for granted.

 

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