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First They Killed My Father, Analysis Essay

September 28, 2009 by mooose498 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Throughout the book “First They Killed My Father,” Loung Ung continuously uses various points in “How To Say Nothing in 500 Words,” to her story. She successfully applied three of the nine points to her story, and overall illustrated and highlighted her work, therefore creating a more appealing read.
The first point which Ung succeeds in illustrating with her writing is that of using colorful words. Various passages in her book succeed in creating a vivid and enticing visual in the reader’s mind, one of which seems to do an exceptional job, “It must be hard for her to have a daughter who does not act like a girls, to be so beautiful and have a daughter like me. Among her women friends, Ma is admired for her height, slender build, and porcelain white skin. I often hear them talking about her beautiful face when they think she cannot hear (p.2).” With adjectives like, “porcelain,” “slender,” and “beautiful,” you can get a clear picture in your head of what the author wants you to picture. I feel an affectionate tone coming from the author when she speaks about her mpther this way. We can see that she admires her and respects her, that Ung looks up to her. Not only are we given a clear image of the mother of Ung in this passage, we are also given a clear depiction of how much Ung loves and admires her mother.
The second point in which Ung successfully supports a point is when she slips out of abstraction by saying, “I fall asleep and dream that I am still at home, still playing hopscotch with my friends. When I wake we are parked near an empty hut to rest for the night. We are in a world very different from Phnom Penh, yet we have traveled only ten miles or so. The sun has gone down, revealing it’s burning rays. All around us, the fields lights up with small fires illuminating the faces of women squatting by them to prepare meals. I can still make out thousands of people milling around or walking to unknown destinations, (p. 24).” Ung borders the line between reality and fantasy in this quote. Because it is a dream she is having, you can see that she obviously thinks about her past, that she misses it. Through this quote Ung shows us what she desires, to be home again. Her feelings bleed through her mind into her dreams, where they haunt her there as well. She is remorseful in real life as well, which is why the harsh reality of her situation with her childhood memories blend in her mind and come out in the form of a dream. Dreams are the clearest way to combine fantasy, memories, and reality, and she successfully combined the three creating a glimpse into her desires by slipping out of abstraction.
Ung also successfully takes the less usual side, in her quote “Watching the girls sing and dance, a strange feeling comes over me. Though the words they sing describe images of blood and war, the girls smile. Their hands move gracefully in unison, their bodies sway and twirl to the rhythm of the music. After the dance, they hold hands and giggle as if they had fun (p. 133).” The fact that she so honestly channels the cold hard truth, by admitting that what she did was wrong in stealing the rice, but by also admitting that she would not come forward, makes the reader cringe with shame as well. Her description of her feelings is very harsh and true to her real emotions, there is no “padding,” no “doing the right thing.” There is only shame.
Ung successfully presented her story in an overall enchanting manner. Her story is compelling and the format in which she presents herself leaves you hanging for more. Truly a spectacular read.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • sneakerhead1129

    You did an amazing job with the integration of your quotes. Each one is perfectly placed, followed by a great analysis. You found and higlighted some of the most riveting points of the story. The reader can tell that you are passionate about the topic of your essay. The fact that you can relay that feeling though your writing to the reader is truly admirable. Superb writing!

  • Everest W


    I think you did a great job. What I liked a lot was when you analyze your quotes. Some people just drop the quotes but you really picked out the certin things that highlighted on your points. You were able to put the whole essay together and keep it flowing. Your quotes were strong and you analyzed them well. Good job Bev.

  • alpal91

    your analysis is fantastic. You’re very detailed in your explanation of each quote, and show your understanding of the writing techniques very clearly. It really shows how much you enjoyed the novel, yet you were able to observe distinguish her writing techniques at the same time. Your appreciation of the author shines through your essay.

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