Analyzing Vietnamerica

Due: April 17

XP: 300 points

For this project, you’ll write a 1000 word essay analyzing GB Tran’s Vietnamerica. Do you see the book more as a bildungsroman or as a work of creative ethnography? (If there is some third category that you believe better fits the text, you can argue for it in your essay instead–but then you should still explain why it’s neither a bildungsroman nor an ethnography.) Explain why and think about the impact that classifying the text one way or the other impacts the way you understand Tran’s argument. As part of arguing for your classification, you should identify what you see as the major themes of the memoir supported by close readings of particular moments from the narrative.

By this point in the semester, you’ve had one exercise in close reading and one exercise in distant reading. For your project analyzing Vietnamerica, you’ll need to find your balance between those two poles and engage in both close, detailed analysis of specific passages or pages of the text and step back to analyze the larger patterns that define its narrative argument.

Other Details

  • Audience: You should assume an audience that has read Vietnamercia and thought about it a little bit, but who understands the books not quite as well as you do.
  • I expect clear, coherent, sophisticated, and grammatically correct prose.
  • You need to use direct quotations from the graphic memoir to support your thesis. Whenever you include a quotation, make certain to make a quote sandwich: introduce the quote first with a signal phrase, reporting verb, or both; then include the quote; and then make certain to explain the quote further.
  • You might also include visuals from the text to support your thesis.
  • Cite all your sources using MLA in-text citations.

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