How many of us have ever experienced sorrow, true starvation and death; all by the age of nine? Is it even possible for us to comprehend the intensity of those emotions if we haven't yet experienced them ourselves? Probably not. Yet this is the task Loung Ung had set upon. I believe she succeeded in providing us at least a ghost of those emotions by providing us an honest portrayal of the events that took place, not barring any explicit details.
This aspect helped Ung in conveying the desperateness and the overall mood during the war. Nowadays, we are much too used to newscasts talking about some war in some foreign country. To an extent, you can say that we have been desensitized ourselves. Media has bombarded us with graphic images of bloodied men and torn countries. We know that a book doesn't have the dazzle that media offers us, but the imagery used, surpasses that of the media in this case. Loung's bare facts allowed us to connect on a personal level.
Some people have stated that its goriness was overdone and hence making it less effective. I disagree. I believe that this was the probably the only way the audience would feel. We had to be shocked out of our monotonous acceptance of the war.
The death of a loved one is something all of us can relate to. When her sister dies, the pain that this child goes through is tangible. The audience cries for her. What's shocking to the audience is how graphic her descriptions are.
"Their black pajama clothes are soaked with blood, urine, feces, and small white matter. The soldiers stand behind the new group of prisoners, casually smoking a cigarette with one hand, while the other holds onto a big hammer with clumps of hair sticking on its head."Pg-106
One wonders if this was even done intentional or did if came naturally. I believe it was the latter.
While under Pol Pot's regime, things such as eating anything off the ground and fighting for road kill...