The book Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam by Nhuong tells the story of a young boy in a central village in Vietnam. The boy has an unlikely companion by the name Tank, a water buffalo. The water buffalo sends the bullies packing whenever they harass Nhuong. The buffalo defeats a tiger and all the other enemies. The story presents some unique characteristics of Vietnam society and culture (Nhuong, 1999). These characteristics help the reader understand the nature of Vietnam society before the beginning of the Vietnam War.
The first characteristic is that culture is dynamic. With different enemies and foes, Nhuong continues to fight new challenges and changes that take place in society. There are new enemies that threaten the people and the herds. It is because of these challenges that Tank, or the buffalo, keep fighting the enemies. The second important characteristic is that the culture is rather gratifying (Nhuong, 1999). Throughout the text, the author explains how Vietnam society develops its natural ways to provide for the desires and needs of the people. The book also addresses the social conflicts in the community. It is therefore agreed that the culture and opportunities help the people meet their specific wants.
The third characteristic of the culture as described in the book is that its culture is something learned by the people. The protagonist realizes that life is hard in the village due to the enemies attacking their herds. With the help of the water buffalo, they have to adapt very fast and address the challenges immediately. With this association in the society, new ideas and solutions to the issues make the culture unique. This makes the culture dynamic with the relationship between animals and human beings properly interwoven by the author (Nhuong, 1999).
The fourth characteristic of the culture is that it is social. As presented in the text, the culture is not isolated. The cultural practices and events arise from the interactions between human beings and animals. The social aspects contribute to the fights and solutions to the challenges faced. The social interaction presented in the work is what leads to the development of the unique culture.
The other social aspect includes the constant relationships and interactions among the family members, the herds and the water buffalo (Nhuong, 1999). This presents a clear picture of Vietnam society before the beginning of the war. Throughout the text, the people are at peace with wildlife because it is a part of their culture. The family is also characteristic of the social aspects of the culture because the Nhuong befriends a buffalo and a dog. This portrays the nature of human relations in society.
The other characteristic of the culture is that the people share the same ideas and foundations of their society. The values make the people identical because they share similar traditions, customs, and beliefs. They have a similar approach to address the challenges affecting them. They develop the same set of values, morale, and ideas.
As part of society, people come together to fight the enemies and maintain the integrity of their society. From the above discussion, the reader observes that there are unique characteristics that define the Vietnam culture as described by the author (Anderson, 2012). The people are social and stick to their beliefs and foundations. This makes it possible for people to live happily in Vietnam before the outbreak of the war.
Anderson, N. (2012). Elementary Children’s Literature: Infancy Through Age 13. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Nhuong, H. (1999). Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam. New York: HarperTrophy.