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“The Happiest Refugee” by Anh Do Essay

Expository texts, by definition, analyse and explain information to enlighten or educate its readers. This type of text often provides readers with deeper insights about a subject. In The Happiest Refugee written by Anh Do, his experiences are used to show the struggles to live a new life in a foreign country. With the conventions such as first-person perspective, colloquial language and anecdotal evidence, Do’s expository text positions readers to be inspired and amused. At the same time, Do’s use of the conventions effectively allows the text to be influential in our attitude towards our lives and thus, make the world a better place.

Writing in first-person narrative allows Do to engage with his readers, which makes it easier for him to be persuasive and to therefore make a difference. It gives the text its warmth and intimacy and makes readers feel a personal connection with Do. In the book, Anh Do talks about his near-death experience that happened at the mere age of two, “Bang! Bang! The patrol boat began shooting at us, and the women on our boat screamed.” The use of onomatopoeia in this quote paints a picture in the mind of the readers and lets them experience the fear of bullets whistling past their heads, clanging in to the side of the only thing that could get them to a better life. Sharing this experience, with the use of first-person point of view, positions readers to be grateful of their lives, especially if they didn’t have to be in the same situation. Do also accentuates the fact that we have to appreciate and recognise the lives that we have to make the world a better place.

The Happiest Refugee is a text written in an informal and colloquial language, which enables Anh Do to openly share his life to his readers. This conveys a strong sense of his voice and is as if he is conversing with a friend. Readers feel privileged to share his ideas and emotions, especially when he writes about moments of fear in his life sincerely, such as when their citizenship documents disappeared, “Those pieces of paper meant we were safe and without them my family felt as vulnerable as someone selling snacks on a Saigon train with no permit.” The use of this simile, which references his family background, emphasises how important it is to have those documents. Through the manipulation of colloquial language, he expresses the point that without those papers, they would extremely vulnerable, as there is no-one looking out for them in the foreign country. Readers are again positioned to be appreciative towards their way of life and in doing so, Do uses his expository text to make a difference in the world where we live in.

Anecdotal evidence is highly evident in The Happiest Refugee. Do’s recount in the book is both interesting, humorous and sometimes, heart-wrenching. He shares insights about himself and the factors that shaped him in hopes that it would inspire his readers and thus, to make a difference. His anecdotes have been used to communicate the message about giving up everything to chase after your dreams. In Chapter Nine Anh Do says, “I worked like I was possessed… I took gigs for free, for $50, $20, a slab of beer, a cheeseburger – anything really.” This quote shows just how determined he was that being a comedian was the right career for him by listing the payments that he received in turn of doing live performances.

It also shows that he was willing to give up the lucrative career that was being offered to him by a law firm to become a stand-up comedian. With the manipulation of multiple anecdotes, Anh Do provides valuable insights about his determination to follow his passion. As a result, he positions his readers to step away from his story and to reflect about their own dreams that they want to achieve. Moreover, he also indicates that pursuing our passions in life can make us the happiest and that people with passion can change the world for the better.

The Happiest Refugee by And Do is an expository text which provides readers valuable insights about Anh Do’s resilience to make a new life in an unfamiliar country. Through the utilisation of first-person perspective, colloquial language and anecdotal evidence, Do uses his expository text as a persuasive tool to subvert the readers’ attitude towards their lifestyles and dreams. His successful manipulation of multiple conventions has allowed his expository text to be convincing about being gratitude and passionate can make a difference and make the world a better place.





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