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The setting of a restaurant creates a kind of entrapment to the narrator and the man named Mr. Cohen. The store, Plantation Hunan, sounds like it could be a bustling place with lots of people. Yet, in the story, it is described as having only two people in the main area, with a divide between them and the kitchen staff. This story works in the fact that the setting contributes a kind of ‘zero-in’ on the characters and turn our attention to not only what is going on, but what is happening in the narrator’s head without taking too much out of the present day story.

The narrator herself is also written well. You could tell she is a foreigner who came to the United States rather than someone who was born here or who had been here for a long time. For example, she believes that all Americans celebrated Christmas, while not knowing that Jewish people celebrate another holiday. She is intrigued by the grandfather clock, saying that in her country Vietnam they don’t have such clocks nor do they need one. Her referring to it as ‘Grandfather’ also speaks of a cultural difference, but it also seems rather cute in my opinion. She is also rather self-conscious and a bit paranoid around Mr. Cohen, the former thinking he would think of her as a ‘lazy girl’. This is a nice telling of our narrator’s personality and quirks.

The first person narrative makes us know a lot about one character’s thoughts, but we don’t really come to understand any more than that. What little we know of Mr. Cohen comes from the narrator’s description of him and their conversation between each other. To me, Mr. Cohen has a quiet mystery about him. The quietness could also be attributed to their setting, as mentioned above, in which there are only two characters in the room for the duration of the story.



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