Class of 2023

Hometown: Andover, Massachusetts

Major: English
Minors: Cinematic Arts and French Studies

Mellon Project: Writing to Heal: An Examination of Intergenerational Trauma in Vietnamese American Literature

Until the end of the 20th century, most American cinematic and literary depictions of the Vietnamese were through the lens of the Vietnam War and, as such, focused primarily on the experiences of American soldiers. Increasingly, Vietnamese people have been finding alternative representation in the works of contemporary Vietnamese American writers; these works, moreover, offer different accounts of—and perspectives on—the Vietnam War and subsequent Vietnamese American experiences.

My honors thesis emerges from my desire to examine these different accounts of the experience of war, migration, and resettlement as it is explored in Vietnamese American fiction, poetry, and memoir. I am especially interested in examining the ways in which Vietnamese Americans, particularly those of the 1.5 generation, have used literature to talk about, process, and heal from individual and intergenerational trauma. In the first section of my thesis, I analyze three Vietnamese American books, which are narrated by women whose parents are first-generation Vietnamese refugees, to show how the narrators use writing to expel trauma from the body, to heal, and to prevent the transmission of trauma to future generations.

Research Interests: Asian American Literature, refugees