What are Henry's challenges living an immigrant life in Native Speaker?

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In Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker revolves around the life of Henry Park, the son of immigrant parents. Henry is also a spy and considers himself an observant outsider in American society. He struggles to decide what kind of person he is, and he says spying is a perfect job for...

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In Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker revolves around the life of Henry Park, the son of immigrant parents. Henry is also a spy and considers himself an observant outsider in American society. He struggles to decide what kind of person he is, and he says spying is a perfect job for him because it essentially allows him to exist as more than one person.

Henry faces the challenges many immigrants have experienced: the clash between the culture of where his parents came from and the culture of their new home. Henry's parents cling to their Korean customs, but Henry finds himself exposed to white middle-class culture, and he has adopted it. He married a woman named Lelia, though we learn that the two have separated. Henry is taken by Lelia's ability to speak perfect English, one of the main reasons why he was attracted to her.

Henry and Lelia's son, we learn, tragically and accidentally died, which contributed to the disintegration of their relationship. Lelia accuses Henry of being unemotional and silent about their child's death, forcing Henry to realize that he was acting much like his stoic, short-tempered father.

Henry mainly grapples with the struggle to assimilate into American culture as the child of immigrants. He seems to have anxiety about the English language, which is likely part of the reason why Lelia's ability to speak it (and her job helping others learn to speak it) draws him to her.

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