Double-Cultured Identity

What I find most interesting about the protagonist of the novel is the cohesiveness of his personality despite the extreme duality of his identity. He constantly brings up how he juggles to separate worlds, as a spy, a half-Vietnamese and half-French, and as an advisor that deals with two classes of people. These are seen in his reflections of himself, as he identifies himself as separate and individual from everyone, and in his reactions to every day events that differ from other characters. The latter phenomenon can be seen when he and the General are attacked by women in the camp at Los Angeles. While the General is horrified at this new experience, the protagonist, being the figure that has managed all the hands-on work of dealing with locals, remains relatively calm. The effect is a disturbing contradiction between his confidence in his social and political role, and the ever-changing inner dialogue that reflects on his extreme situations.

1 Comment

  1. I feel as though his cohesive personality is what allows him to maintain such extreme dual identities. If his personal character were as inconsistent as the characters he plays, combined with the deliberately vague tone of not differentiating his thoughts from speech with lack of quotation marks and even a lack of a name, he would be completely indecipherable. That unshakeable confidence lends some element of stability to both him as a character and how he reacts to outside situations, which is perfectly highlighted by the section you mentioned with the General.

Leave a Reply