The Unwanted

I am writing this letter because I want to recommend the book –“The Unwanted” by Kien Nguyen to 11th graders in high school. “The Unwanted” is a work of nonfiction and it is about the Vietnam War. This is the true story about Kien’s childhood life after the communist takeover Vietnam in 1975. In my opinion, war is cruel for people, and it causes many different social issues. The students in 11th grade are studying history, and history is a requirement subject in high school. The major theme in this book for 11th graders is the effect of war. Since teens need to study history at school, they only learn from the book.
However, they never imagine a war is always related to our life. The reason for 11th graders to learn from war is discrimination. Discrimination happens in every country and discrimination still exists in our life, especially in the United States. The United States is a multi-ethnic country, and there are many different races’ people live in the same community. Discrimination not only happens during the war, but it is also happens in school. At school, teens are studying with different races of classmates, and they have different cultures and backgrounds. So teens should learn how to get alone with each other.
For example, Kien is a mix-raced and he is a good student whom his teachers are proud of his accomplishments. His teacher recommends him to be a leader in front of parade. He is very proud and it is a good challenge for him to do his best. He wants his mother to be proud of him too. However, his dean cancels his qualification before the parade begins because of his mix-raced. His mother is ashamed about Kien’s mix-raced and she is very worry about him. When the police go to check their family status after the fall of Saigon; his mother worries about his identity.
If the police know about Kien’s identity, they might take him to jail. So his mother dyes his hair to make him looks like a Vietnamese. To dye Kien’s hair and hide his identity shows Kien is discriminated by social community. Although racial discrimination exists in our society, people take pride in mix-raced. Most people nowadays consider mix-raced kids as beautiful or handsome. However, mix-raced kids are discriminated during the Vietnam War; their fates are terrible because the communist take over Vietnam and American help their opposite side. Therefore, the communist consider American as enemies. So the discrimination nfluences teens 11th graders because they need to know more about the social problem in the war. Also, teens should learn the racial discrimination from Kien’s experience. It could always remind teens to get alone with others when they have discrimination at school or in community. Besides, learning more discrimination information also helps them to improve their historical knowledge. Another reason for me to recommend this book to 11th grader is appreciation of Kien’s hard life after the war. Now, our living standard is better than the life in war; however, some families are still facing financial problem.
Also, Kien’s life is affected by Vietnam War which he must work hard to support his family’s financial problem. Moreover, 11th graders can learn from Kien’s experience, begin to live independently. So, this is a good chance for the teens to learn a lesson from Kien’s experience. For example, Kien was living in a wealthy family, and he doesn’t need to worry about his life. However, his life has changed after Vietnam War. He works hard to less his mother’s burden. Sometimes he feels helpless because no one can help him; everyone is worrying about their life at the same time.
He finally learns how to take care of his family and earn money for his family. He is matured by his life and he acts like an adult. No matter how bad the living environment Kien has, he still accepts it. As teenagers, we should learn from Kien’s life experience to handle our difficulties. Also, this is the useful and helpful message for 11th grader; they can learn a lesson from Kien’s hard life and learn how to handle the difficulties if they have family financial problem. On the other hand, survival and hope are the most important factors in our life.
Everyone has a hope when they live in the world and works hard to find a living way. If people do not have a hope to survive, they might live like a person without soul. Also, some of people never give up when they lose their hope; they try to find their hope to survive. But some teens do not think so, sometimes they feel hopeless when they are facing difficulties without any helps. In this book, Kien is hopeless just after the fall of Vietnam. He is too little to handle all of his difficulties in his life. Because he is the oldest son for his mother, he has to take all of the responsibilities.
Kien never gives up when he is facing his difficulties. He tries his best to help his family out of Vietnam. His father is an American and he is looking for his father; he needs his father’s help, and he wants his father takes him out of his misfortune. From his difficulties to a way out of Vietnam, it gives him a hope in his life. When 11th graders study many different wars around the world, some of them might feel people in the war are hopeless and helpless; they don’t want to accept their misfortune. It also helps teens to understand even the environment is terrible, they still can find their way to live.
As a result, survival is very important in everyone’s life. I like this book very much after I finish it. I am so excited and nervous by Kien’s life changes in this book. I really want to recommend this book to 11th graders who are interest in history and want to study history, because students in 11th grade begin to study history and it is the requirement subject in high school. So, this book can helps them to know more details of historical events in Vietnam War. From Kien’s life, hope and discrimination in the war, they can get the different point of view in the book.
Also, they will learn how Kien helps his family and handles his hardship in his life. Now, the teenagers don’t understand the difficulties after the war, because they live under their parents’ protection. For some teens are mix-raced like Kien, they can compare the different situation about the discrimination with Kien’s experience. Before, I had heard some histories from my parents about the Vietnam War and I had learned a little bit at school, and I don’t know how people live during the war. Now, I can image how Kien’s life in Vietnam and how hard he lives under the community society.

Prof. Angela


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