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Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Nicholas Taylor


Asian-American, Vietnam, Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American, Vietnamese diaspora

Subject Areas

Creative writing


At its core, Milk, Beer and Other Stories is about the Vietnamese identity and the hierarchy of this identity: Vietnamese living in Việt Nam, Vietnamese immigrants in America, and Vietnamese-Americans. This collection examines how these characters deal with stereotypes applied to them by non-Vietnamese people as well as the assumptions that are perpetuated by those within the Vietnamese community. The stories are unapologetic in their Vietnamese-ness as well as their American-ness. The two cultures often contrast each other. The pride of being Vietnamese is often challenged by the desire for the possibilities that America seems to promise. However, despite it being so crucial to the collection, the Vietnamese culture that is embedded in the characters is secondary to the humanity of each character. The issues they face embody a universality that speaks to everyone, Vietnamese or not. The honesty of the stories is intended to reveal the intimate moments of Vietnamese characters, regardless of where they stand in the hierarchy, and emphasize the fact that these characters are, first and foremost, human, and their Vietnamese roots are only a part of who they are.