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Robert Olen Butler’s “Mr. Green” addresses the theme of masculinity vs. femininity in Vietnamese culture, a conflict which shapes the narrator’s outlook. This can first be seen in the following passage, where Mr. Green speaks to the narrator’s grandfather.

My grandfather bowed to the parrot and said, “Hello, kind sir,” and Mr. Green said, “Hello, kind sir,” and even though I loved the parrot, I would not speak to him that day because he was a boy and I wasn’t. (111)

To the narrator, not being male means that she can’t save her grandfather’s soul, something that he personally told her only males can do. Even though it’s almost silly, she still finds the difference in gender, even in a parrot,  hard to take. She begins to find herself repulsive because she starts to understand what the role of a woman is in Vietnamese culture, and thanks to her grandfather putting ideas in her head, she begins to resent being female.

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