Pigs from Home by Hop Dac
In Pigs from Home by Hop Dac we have the theme of tradition, culture, acceptance and connection. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator the reader realizes after reading the story that Dac may be exploring the theme of tradition. Despite living in Australia the narrator and his family carry on the traditions that they relied on in Vietnam. They keep poultry, goats, ducks and pigs in their small holding and continue with not only the Vietnamese tradition of rearing animals but also with Vietnamese culture. Something that is clearer to the reader through the introduction of the narrator’s grandmother. Who kills off the duck. It is interesting that the narrator’s grandmother is excited about the news of the duck as it serves to show that she knows when she sees an opportunity for a delicacy.
The theme of acceptance is evident in the story. The narrator knows that because he and his brother Tam are the two oldest boys at home they have to work on holding for their father. It is another tradition that is followed by the narrator and his family. The other Vietnamese men and women who visit the holding also suggest that the narrator and his family accept others from the same tradition. Nothing is different and it is as though the family still live in Vietnam. In no way does the reader suspect that the narrator and his family have westernized themselves in any way. Something which unfortunately might lead some critics to suggest that the narrator and his family have not integrated with other Australian people. However this would be untrue because eventually the family do get their poultry from an Australian man called Reg. Who becomes a friend of the family.
There may be some symbolism in the story which might be important. The pigs can be seen to represent not only a necessity, for food, but also the continuation of tradition. The closeness of the narrator and his family can be seen through the fact that the narrator helps out on the holding. He is learning the culture of Vietnamese people. Despite living thousands of miles from Vietnam. Again there is a sense of continuation of tradition and culture. The only downside for the narrator is the pigs. He loathes them and the noise they make. He also doesn’t trust them and is wary of what they might do. Something that might be important as the narrator has seen what a pig can do to an innocent duck. The title of the story might be important as it shows that the narrator has adapted in some way to life in Australia. Australia is his home even if he carries on the traditions of Vietnam.
The end of the story is interesting as the narrator, despite the passing of time, still takes pigs blood with some of his food. It is something that continues to connect the narrator with his past. Not only his Vietnamese past but his childhood too. Which appears to have been a happy one even if he at times felt embarrassed by those older than him. This however does not stop the narrator from knowing what he enjoys. He may not necessarily enjoy life with the pigs but he does enjoy the luxuries that come with owning pigs. Something his Australian peers would not be aware of such is the family’s dedication to continuing the traditions and culture of Vietnam. It is as though the narrator is getting the best of both Vietnam and Australia.