Essay PreviewMore ↓
The other night I had a dream. I dreamed of a boy whom I had known a long time ago, but since then he had disappeared completely from my life. In my dream, I saw him sitting beside my bed and talking to me. He told me about the trip that he had taken with his parents, his two older brothers, and his sister when he was seven years old. He told me how his parents had been victimized by a man who knew about his parents’ desperate attempt to flee from Vietnam, so he took advantage of them.
“Wake up, wake up, son. We must leave now.” He opened his eyes and looked outside; it was still very dark and rainy. “Where are we going, Mom?” he asked while crawling out of bed sleepily. When they left the house for the train station, it was only four o’ clock in the morning, and the boy thought that his family was going to visit their grandparents whom he had not seen for ten years. The next morning, they arrived in Nha Trang, a coastal city in Central Vietnam, where his father told him that they would stay for a while before going to the next destination. They went to live in the house of an acquaintance near the fish market. Every day they would stay inside the house and would go out only when it was absolutely necessary, especially the kids who now had to learn how to be quiet. They learned how to walk tip-toe and to talk by finger pointing; few sounds were made. Every sound was kept to the minimum so the neighbors and the secret police would not be aware that there were new people in town.
Around midnight on the fourth day, the boy and his family members awakened again. This time they went with the family of the house's owner to a bus station where they took the bus going northward. The boy was very happy because he was free at last to play as a normal child again. On the way, everybody was fascinated and hypnotized by the scenery along the road, especially the kids because it was the first time they had left the cosmopolitan city for the countryside.
How to Cite this Page
"Escape from Vietnam." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Nov 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... Now that the people no longer had to worry about finding food to feed themselves, they had enough energy to begin building houses out of tree limbs and branches. After fourteen long months of waiting on the island, the United States delegation finally offered a visa to resettle in the United States. Nguyen first arrived to San Francisco. He stayed there for two days until the connecting flight took him to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, he was able to graduate college, find a stable job, and get married.... [tags: Vietnam War, Vietnam, South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh]
2171 words (6.2 pages)
- Why did the United States get involved in the Vietnam War. Ask this question to a cross section of Americans, a housewife like Bobbie Lee Pendergrass who wrote a moving letter to President Kennedy looking for answers not about the death of her brother, but the reason why he fighting in Vietnam. Most Americans couldn’t even tell you where Vietnam was on a map much less why we sent so many soldiers to fight a civil war half way around the world because most Americans did not think that communism was not an immediate threat.... [tags: Vietnam War Essays]
1062 words (3 pages)
- ... Those that obeyed the draft did not necessarily believe in what they were fighting for and their motivation can affect how they fight. With these types of troops, strict and severe situations can cause rebellion in their ranks and operations can malfunction. The strategies the Northern Vietnamese and mostly the Viet Cong used were highly different from usual tactics used in war. Ho Chi Minh excellently described his tactics of the guerilla war to a contest between a tiger and an elephant, with the North Vietnamese as the tiger.... [tags: Vietnam War, United States, Vietnam]
1041 words (3 pages)
- “You will kill ten of us, we will kill one of you, but in the end, you will tire of it first”. This Quote by Vietnam leader Ho Chi Men shows just how far the Vietnamese were willing to go to defend their country. The Vietnam War was a disaster for the United States and still affects Americans today. One of the biggest questions about the Vietnam War was The Draft. The Draft was a highly debated topic during the Vietnam War. The Draft is where Americans are chosen in a lottery format to fight in the war.... [tags: United States, Vietnam War]
1622 words (4.6 pages)
- ... Racism precluded them from receiving a proper education or a normal job, and thus the inhabitants of Potrero Hill had to turn to selling drugs, an inherently dangerous task. The stress of being under constant danger results in violence that only cuts them off from the rest of the world. Pizza deliverymen and policemen alike avoid Potrero Hill, alienating those living there and maintaining their poverty. Both Potrero Hill and Vietnam are the scenes of lewd violence against children. Though in Vietnam, there is no physical sexual violence, the presence of young boys in a place as traumatizing as the warzone of Vietnam is enough to strip them of their innocence, one of the things that make... [tags: Vietnam War, Cold War, United States, Communism]
1006 words (2.9 pages)
- The Vietnam War was between Capitalist United states and Communist North Vietnamese; the war began in 1964 and ended in 1975. The US joined the war to stop the spreading of communism. The US came up with the domino theory which was if Vietnam turned communist the surrounding countries would all fall to communism too. The war suffered around 2.3million casualties and was very significant in the long term and the short term. Some of the wars key events were; in 1960 when the Vietcong was formed, 1963 when Diem was overthrown, 1965 Operation rolling thunder begun, 1969 Ho Chi Minh died and in 1963 the cease-fire agreement was signed in Paris and the troops leave Vietnam.... [tags: Vietnam War, Agent Orange, USA, chemmical warfare,]
1530 words (4.4 pages)
- The conflict in Vietnam for the United States started when President Dwight D. Eisenhower went along with the domino theory and sent in military advisors in South Vietnam to stop the communist movement from taking place in South Vietnam. The Vietnam conflict was between the communist’s and the United States. North Vietnam was led by Ho Chi Minh, and Ho Chi Minh led the Viet Cong, a guerilla group to help spread communism. The United States were supporters of the South Vietnam because they wanted them to maintain their government rather than falling to the domino theory of communism.... [tags: Vietnam War Essays]
1385 words (4 pages)
- Soldier's Personal Narratives of the Vietnam War and The Vietnam War and the Tragedy of Containment After reading the Soldier's Personal Narratives of the Vietnam War and The Vietnam War and the Tragedy of Containment, both information did not contradict each other. What both information actually do is that they compliment each other. When reading The Vietnam War and the Tragedy of Containment, we are reading a historical analysis from a historian's point of view. But not all of the analysis can really give the readers a sense of what the war is really like.... [tags: Vietnam War Essays]
1080 words (3.1 pages)
- The Vietnam War (1954-75) occurred during the Cold War, a period of tense rivalry between the USA and the Soviet Union. As the war progressed, American involvement in Vietnam grew with the Communist forces. The American troops were seen as overly aggressive, with soldiers trained to only perceive the Vietcong as ‘the enemy’, and to employ “search and destroy” tactics (Sanders 5). This resulted in numerous deaths on both sides and many exhausted soldiers suffering from low morale both physically and emotionally, seen foremost in Americans (Sanders).... [tags: The Vietnam War, Cold War, history]
1584 words (4.5 pages)
- The U.S. Involvement in the Vietnam War Was Justified The Vietnam conflict has been known for being the most unpopular war in the history of the United States. The war of 1812, the Mexican war and the Korean conflict of the early 1950's were also opposed by large groups of the American people, but none of them generated the emotional anxiety and utter hatred that spawned Vietnam. The Vietnam war caused people to ask the question of sending our young people to die in places where they were particular wanted and for people who did not seem especial grateful.... [tags: Vietnam War Essays]
1749 words (5 pages)
The adults became very tense and uneasy. Everyone looked out to the street in front of the cafe as though they were waiting for something to happen. The boy’s father went outside and looked as far as he could, as if he were expecting someone to arrive soon. Two hours passed, and the people were becoming much more anxious. Some of them even wanted to pack up their belongings and leave; however, the wife of a boat owner told them that her husband would arrive soon, so none of them left. It started raining quite hard. The sound of water rolling down from the thatched roof of the cafe orchestrated with the singing of the frogs in their mating season coming somewhere from the rice field just beyond the highway, and the clapping of ocean waves against a rocky shore seemed to soothe the minds of the people waiting inside the cafe somewhat. Suddenly, a loud, harsh, and brutal voice coming from an amplifier woke everyone up from their sleepy states: “Under the law of the Vietnamese government, you are under arrest for cooperating with foreign governments to organize illegal trips for the enemies of the Republic of Vietnam to escape and to help them in destroying the life and peace of the Vietnamese people.” Inside the cafe, people were frightened and panicking; everyone wanted to hide somewhere, but there was no place to hide. They were running from side to side and looking outside. Words were exchanged abruptly and chaotically. Millions of thoughts went through everyone’s mind, but none of the thoughts was comforting. And what terrified everyone was the thought of standing against a wall blindfolded while dozens of bullets tore through their bodies. Or the thought that, at best, they would be sent to labor camps to work, knowing that the day when they could return home was uncertain. Their cold hands were shaking and sweating. The children were screaming and crying because they didn’t know what was happening.
Ten minutes later everyone began to calm down after they realized that there was no way to escape. Then the door of the cafe slowly opened and the first man stepped outside raising his hands. Other men soon followed. The police forced them to lie down on the ground and then handcuffed them. One man rose up from the ground and began to run, but he didn’t get very far; a shot was heard. The boy only saw the man’s body jerk up; his blood began to pour down from his back while his body slowly fell onto the ground. The boy closed his eyes and felt dizzy. He wanted to open his mouth to cry, but it was being covered tightly by his mother’s hands. One policeman walked toward the body and turned it over; the man’s eyes were still open and he stared into the dark sky. “He is dead,” the officer said.
Everyone became very quiet as a heavy melancholy atmosphere covered the whole scene. Then the policemen pushed, punched, and dragged the rest of the people onto the waiting trucks. The boy looked after his father, who later turned his eyes toward them when he was pushed onto a different truck. It was not the last time he saw his father. Three years later he was able to see those eyes again after his father came back home from a labor camp somewhere deep in the jungle. After ten minutes, when everyone had been captured, the trucks left for a prison in downtown Nha Trang. On the way back to the city, no one spoke because all of them were occupied with their own thoughts. Even the children were quiet because of the killing that had just happened. The boy thought about the dead man. He looked like one of the ghosts that frightened him during the nightmares that he would have after listening to a scary story. Suddenly, a cold electric shock ran down his spine as he imagined that the face of the cadaver looked somewhat like his father’s. The heavy rain continued to pour down on the topless trucks. It was extremely cold and wet. The adults were embracing the children in an attempt to warm them. Lightning went through and lighted up the sky, quickly disappearing into the darkness and taking with it the hopes of the prisoners.
When the truck finally came into the prison yard, all the men and the women were forced into a room where they were ordered to strip off all of their clothes so the policemen could check if there were any precious things that they could take away from the prisoners. Later everyone was escorted to his or her own cell; any child who was younger than fifteen years old would go with his mother, so the boy, his mother, his two brothers, and his sister lived in the same cell. Prior to 1975, the prison held only 2,000 prisoners. However, after 1975, it held around 5,000 prisoners, and it also served as a temporary place to hold newly arrested people before they were transferred to other prisons, labor camps, or re-education camps. At one point, the prison had more than 10,000 prisoners living in it. In early 1977, not many people were trying to escape from Vietnam yet, so there were no special cells for such people. They were kept with murderers, thieves, and other kinds of prisoners.
The cell where they lived was small, but it already had twenty people living in it. At the end of the cell was a bathroom in which there was no light. Its walls were white, but they looked more brown and yellow because they had not been painted for years. There were two long beds in the cell; each bed was supposed to accommodate ten people. The beds were old and cracked, and every night bed-bugs came crawling through the cracks and bit people. During the first night in jail, the boy didn’t even know where he was; he turned his head many times to his mother and asked her where they were. His mother always told him that they were in jail, but he didn’t believe it. He always thought that prison was an awful and hellish place where bad people were sent to be executed, but then he slowly began to realize that he was truly living in a prison when he saw the police escort handcuffed people in and out of their jail cells. He thought about the bad things he had done and concluded that they were why he had ended up in jail. At night, in his dream, he saw the policemen come in and take him outside to be executed. But before they raised their guns and fired the bullets aimed at him, he was bitten by a bed-bug which woke him up. His sheets were soaked with fear and helplessness.
He wanted to stand up and walk outside to find some relief, but the thick wall stopped him. Near the top of the thick wall were two small windows which were made even smaller by four thick iron bars. One had to jump up and hold onto the iron bars in order to see outside. From the cell’s windows, if he looked out, he could see the front gate of the prison, and just outside was a street that led to another street running along the beach. He could not see the sea , but he could feel it by listening to the sound of the ocean as its waves came ashore to caress the sand dunes. Sometimes during the afternoon’s nap, he could also hear the enchanting song of the coconut trees just outside the wall as their leaves moved gently in the direction of the wind. He could see himself turning into a pigeon flying away; but somehow, it was trapped and its wings were broken. Freedom was only twelve yards away, to be exact, but it seemed to him that it was ten thousand miles from where he lay in that prison.
Every day the prisoners woke up at eight o’clock to clean up, and then they waited for lunch to arrive at noon. The food was mostly rice with quite a lot of grains in it. The soup tasted more like salt water with some strips of vegetables swimming in it. However, at the end of the week, seafood was served. It was a luxury to have fish heads dipped in fish sauce. Once per week, the children were allowed to play in a yard in front of their cell. The boy’s brother, who was twelve at the time and the oldest among the children, invented an ingenious way to kill boredom. He created a bed-bug killing contest in which the winner would get a cube of sugar as a reward from the adults. Then at night after dinner, the cell leader gathered everyone in the cell, and she assigned one person to read aloud the teachings of Ho Chi Minh and Marxist Leninists. All of them pretended to listen attentively, but in the back of their minds, they were thinking about what kind of food they wanted to eat when they got out of jail. Or maybe they were planning another escape from Vietnam—a successful one because they were more experienced now.
Sometimes a policeman came into the cell and asked one of the prisoners about the teachings of Ho Chi Minh. The prisoner always replied that the teachings of Ho Chi Minh were the best and the most advanced philosophical ideas in the world and that he always remembered and reserved a special place in his heart for them. Later, everyone in the prison was invited forcefully by the guards to attend a special seminar given by a man from North Vietnam, who had been in the Communist party for over thirty years, about the technologically advanced lifestyles in North Vietnam, which he claimed had had the highest standard of living on earth since the beginning of time. Everyone was gathered in the big yard in the center of the prison where the seminar was given. As he listened to the man’s speech, the boy felt that he was inferior and much more stupid than his peers in the North. Everyone else except him was nodding as though they agreed completely with what the man said. However, a young man, who had been arrested because he had once worked for the U.S. government, later raised his hands and asked: “I am just wondering, since the North is so technologically advanced, do you have any ice cream to eat?” The speaker answered positively: “Of course, we do! We have too much ice cream to eat, so we can’t finish it. In order to save it, we have to dry it up under the sun.” The whole mass of prisoners broke into laughter. And even though all of them were trying to control themselves, the laughs still continued. The man’s face looked very proud as though what he had said was probably the best speech given in the world. But after a while, a guard from the South approached him and told him something. His face suddenly turned deadly serious, which stopped everyone from laughing. After that day, the brave young man was transferred to another prison and nobody saw him again. Everyone believed that he would be dead soon from the physical tortures of the policemen.
Around ten o’ clock one morning, after the prisoners had lived in prison for two weeks, a guard opened the cell’s door and let the prisoners come out. They were loaded into a truck and brought to a sandy beach just outside the boundary of Nha Trang. Along the way, when the boy looked out and saw the children playing on the street, he wished he could be one of them. He felt like he hadn’t had a chance to walk on the streets for years. Everything looked new and strange, as if the whole world had changed since he had gone into prison. When they arrived at the beach, they were taken out to the sea where the filming took place. The policemen were dressed in Thai costumes, and they pretended that they had just seized a boat of Vietnamese people. They were jumping from their boat to the prisoners’ boat, screaming and shouting for joy. While they were invading his boat, the boy looked down and saw fish swimming in the crystal clear water underneath him. Suddenly a scary thought moved quickly through his head. He thought that his body was being bitten into pieces by the fish down there. He saw himself struggling hopelessly in the water, trying to fight the fish and gasping for breath at the same time. The salty water entered his eyes, his nose, and his mouth. He could not breathe as he tried to keep his mouth open so the fresh air could enter his lungs. He was screaming and crying as tears rolled down his cheeks. Suddenly, he felt someone lift him up and throw him over the boat’s wall into the deep ocean below. He was diving into the ocean like a broken-winged pigeon. The last thing that he heard before hitting the water was the camera man’s excited, “Excellent! This is an excellent shot.”
After spending three weeks living in jail, the boy, his brothers, and his sister were released. They were escorted by a policewoman to the front gate, where they met their grandfather. While walking near the entrance, they looked through an open window into the main office of the prison. There they saw the boat owner chatting enthusiastically with the policemen. They called each other “comrade.” The children suddenly understood it all. They felt they hated the man so much. The hatred toward him overwhelmed them. They looked at him through the open window with all of their anger. When the door finally opened, they ran outside with all of their childhood innocence shattered. The boy looked back and saw his mother behind the iron bars waving at them. He waved back at her while the door of the front gate was slowly narrowing. He felt as if he would never see her again. He missed her so much. They didn’t see each other again until nearly two years later.
That night, a new storm came in from the Pacific; its water poured down the window where the boy sat in a train going back to the city. His grandfather had just told them that their parents had been cheated by the boat owner, who worked for the police to trap people so they could get their money. Their parents had used all of their life savings just to pay for this trip. Now the children would live with him until one of their parents returned home. The boy looked outside into the rain and asked himself over and over again, “How could he do this to us? How could he?” The only thing that the boy saw was the blurring lights of a coastal village slowly moving backward as the train picked up speed. The train entered the vast darkness ahead and carried with it the uncertain future of the passengers aboard.
Fifteen years have passed. The other day when I walked at night toward Hutchison Hall where I intended to finish my English paper, suddenly I had a strange feeling that someone was following me. When I turned my head and looked behind my back, I saw the boy from the past standing there staring at me. His shadow was faintly cast onto the ground by the moon shining through dark clouds. He was pale and lifeless. He looked more like a cadaver than a human being. I was afraid of him, so I started to run; right away, his shadow followed me. It chased after me wherever I went. I told myself if I could only turn around and embrace it in my arms, it would make me feel stronger and less afraid of him as I confronted him. I turned my back; the shadow was twisting itself and rotating around my body as though it wanted to say something to me. Then I reached for it, and the shadow welcomed me as it merged into my body. We were becoming one whole human being again. I understood him better than ever because he had taught me so much. He told me to move on with my life. He taught me to take my life into my own hands so I could move on freely despite all of its terrifying past, weaknesses, and horrors, and to forgive others who had done harm to me because if I didn’t, they surely would come back and haunt me later.