The Late Homecomer by Kao Kalia Yang
The Late Homecomer by Kao Kalia Yang
The above is a non-fictional book that traces the ancestry and cultural heritage of the Hmong community through the tale of one family. As such, it is written in prose form containing a prologue, four sections, and an epilogue. Yang penned this memoir to provide an account of her life experiences. She was born in 1980 at the Ban Vinai refugee camp and after immigrating to the United States in 1987, she went on to graduate from Harding High school in Minnesota. From an early stage, although she had poor oratory skills, she showed signs of being talented in writing. She attended Carleton College and later went to Columbia University for her Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Nonfiction writing course. She has taught in many schools and written various books as well. Her teachings have been focused on compositions whereby she educates students on proper ways of storytelling. Consequently, the book is a thematic narration of the plight of Hmong migrants in a foreign land and their struggle to achieve the American Dream.
This literature is well organized and appeals to different ethos in order to make a connection with the reader. For example, she painfully narrates the difficult circumstances under which her grandmother crossed the river with her father despite them not having a raft (Yang 17). By so doing, one is able to sympathize with them. Thus, the resilience that the family members show is admirable since it motivates people to overcome challenges in life. In addition, it has a series of rhetorical questions that make the text interactive thereby maintaining the reader’s attention. Likewise, it is laden with several examples of daily struggles within the American society that are intended to arouse interest into the subjects discussed especially since they affect minorities. Moreover, such instances are used to reinforce Yang’s perceptions about life. By so doing, The Late Homecomer logically approaches issues and provides convincing details.
Therefore, the reader is introduced to a life of poverty and impoverishment that gradually transforms once these refugees adapt to the American way of life. The integration of diverse cultures is evident and the benefits of modernity are revealed through the personal stories of the various characters. Moreover, the book focuses on the environmental setup within neighborhoods and the influence they have in shaping one’s beliefs and habits in life. By highlighting the activities of Hmong children during and after their maturity, it explores the socioeconomic mobility of a typical immigrant family and draws attention to the need for civilization in other parts of the world (Yang 47). Similarly, it acts as a platform that advocates for the American system, which makes it possible for the disadvantaged to succeed as long as they are committed to their cause. As such, Yang’s use of flashback to offer comparisons about their previous upbringing in relation to their US experience is apt as it captures the complex alterations that they have to make in order to fit in with their new surroundings. Additionally, it raises pertinent questions such as the viability of certain educational policies. By writing the book using the first person pronoun, Yang enables the reader to visualize the occurrences thereby finding them relatable as well. This increases its appeal among a diverse audience too. Moreover, it uses simple language that is easily comprehendible, resulting in the book’s reading in its entirety.
Yang, Kao. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2008. Print.
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