Thursday, July 17

Excerpt from my Thesis

I graduated with an M.A. in Communication in 2005.  Here's an excerpt from Chapter Two of my thesis:

From the outside, the two-room, single-story house in Sunset, Utah, looks just like any ordinary American house belonging to a working-class family. The outdoor vinyl siding tinted a worn-out beige. The roof is the familiar dark amber color, with aluminum trim. The house has a porch, a 10-by-10-foot yard, and a 1999 black Honda Civic parked right along the street. But at a closer look, the house is surrounded by a chain link fence, which is extremely unusual for the neighborhood. However, the trait that singles out this particular house is not what’s outside, but what’s inside.

            The interior of Tou Lee Yang’s modest home is simple – even Spartan. The living room has a television set, a small couch, a coffee table and a shelf. The walls are bare except for three family portraits in plastic frames. Behind a partition is the kitchen equipped with just the basics: an oven, a cupboard, a small dining table, a stove and a fridge. The setting could be the kitchen of a Third World Asian country. Newspapers are used as liner for the dish rack, while the tiled floor spots pieces of crumbs from yesterday’s dinner. The corners are dark with grease and the walls spotted brown from heavy cooking.

            The back yard has a few coops, and chickens run freely within fenced areas. There are no fruit trees or vegetable gardens, just bushes and weeds. The garage has been renovated into a bedroom where Yang’s two younger sons sleep. The daughter has her own room and Yang and his wife occupy the master bedroom. All in all, the interior lacks décor except for a fish tank. And even that comes with just the basics: a few goldfish, some dirt-colored gravel and a filter. The house suggests poverty, but the environment is common among the Hmong. This is how they like it, and what their culture dictates: simplicity.


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