The Happiest Refugee

by

Anh Do

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The Happiest Refugee: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Anh’s grandmotherTam’s mother—is a big part of Anh’s childhood. Not only is she a passionate gardener, but she impresses Anh with her Nintendo skills. Unfortunately, she also has a knack for throwing away important papers. On several occasions, she throws official documents that she can’t read into the trash.
Anh’s grandmother represents another extended family figure who plays an important role in his life during his childhood. Anh’s affectionate depiction of her suggests the esteem in which he holds her. Anh’s childhood is full of figures other than his father and mother with whom he shares deep bonds, and his grandmother is no exception.
Themes
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When the time comes for Anh to go to high school, his mother and father, who value education highly, begin looking around for a good school. On the suggestion of Uncle Huy—who has become a priest—the family sets its sights on the boys’ school of St. Aloysius. The school has two mottos: “Men for others”—which pleases Anh’s mother, and “Born for greater things,” which pleases Anh’s father.
The two school mottos of St. Aloysius, which satisfy Anh’s mother and father, point to the values that are prioritized by Anh’s parents and that reign supreme in the Do household: generosity and ambition. 
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Related Quotes
The school is expensive, though, and the family is unsure if they can afford it. Anh and his brother Khoa sit for a scholarship exam, and manage to win partial scholarships. Even though they have not won full scholarships, Anh’s mother and father are ecstatic. Anh begins to realize that his parents are working so hard so that they can give their children a better life. Although they have huge dreams for their children, his parents never put pressure on them. The family goes out to celebrate the boys’ scholarship results over a McDonalds meal. Things are about to go downhill, however.
Once again, Anh’s parents show their great love for and devotion to their children by celebrating their achievements, even if these achievements are only partially successful. His parents’ loving support also reveals to Anh that they only want the best for their children, and that they are making great sacrifices in order to make a good life a reality for them. Anh, in other words, is arriving at a new appreciation of his parents’ sacrifices and support. 
Themes
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Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
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