“For inspiration, I read absurdly formal Victorian poetry and drank Scotch near. How hard could it be? Things happened in this world all the time. All I had to do was record them.”
Nam Le. “Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice.”
In a creative writing class that I took a few semesters ago my professor told us that in short stories every line has to count. Nam Le definitely made every single line of “Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice” count.
The story showed the life of a struggling writer, how he struggles to find something to write about, and how he struggles with his relationships. He is unable to open up to his girlfriend, who very clearly cares a lot about him, and he is unable to relate to his father.
I think that the title definitely describes the relationship between the character and his father. That struggle between love and honor, pity and pride, and compassion and sacrifice. All of these themes are strong throughout his storytelling and make it a really great story to read.
Anyone can understand and relate to the struggles between a parent and a child. Parents give you life and raise you to be the person that you are, but you still struggle against them. You want to do things for yourself and have your own opinions and experiences without their input. Breaking away from your parents is an important part of growing up and becoming more independent. However, breaking away can sometimes leave you in a position where you aren’t comfortable. They still feel the need to take care of you and you still want to please them.
I think it would be really hard to express all of these feelings in a short story and Nam Le did a really good job doing that.