Priscilla the Cambodian - Close Passage Analysis

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There has always been prejudice in the world. Everyone has had experience with prejudice at some point in their lives. Some, sadly to say, have had more experience with prejudice and worse experiences with it. Some people live in a life full of prejudice that is far beyond name calling and mental bullying. Some people have the unfortunate experiences dealing with a harsh physical abuse as well. In “Priscilla the Cambodian” a short story in Sightseeing written by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Priscilla and her family represent some of the prejudice that occurs all over the world. This passage shows just how violent and insensitive people can be towards people who are not their own. It’s a deep, intriguing passage in the story that is important and has a lot of meaning; that without it, this story would not be complete.

It was the middle of the night when the boy woke up to his father and friends making noise. His father and friends had “high, excited voices.” (Lapcharoensap 114) The men were actually excited and looking forward to what they were about to do. They were hyped up. The boy gets out of bed to watch the men. He is curious what is going on. With the talk earlier before he went to bed, about the Cambodians, he knew what may be about to occur. The men are standing in the yard, “nodding their heads in unison.”( Lapcharoensap 114) The men are all agreeing on something they were apparently debating on. Everyone else is “standing around my father in the yard” (Lapcharoensap 114) which meant that his father is most likely the one initiating the plan and making sure it is being seen through. In this context, it seems his father is the leader for what is about to happen. This is making the boy uneasy. When the men get into the pickup truck, the narrator now says “the men climbed in, their deep, drunken voices murmuring up to my window.”( Lapcharoensap 114-115) The narrator went from saying the men had “high, excited voices”( Lapcharoensap 114) to “deep, drunken voices”( Lapcharoensap 115) within a matter of a few sentences. The narrator also uses the word “murmuring” in that sentence, which could be interpreted as the men were speaking in confidentiality. At the beginning, the men were excited and hyped up but as the small amount of time passed, getting closer to following through with their plan, they became drunker, quieter, and more secretive. Becoming more drunk and enraged would make it easier for them to actually follow through with what was planned. In the next sentence down, it says “They left their empty bottles on the straw mat in our yard” ( Lapcharoensap 115). By empty bottles, the narrator is speaking of bottles that were once filled with alcohol. Whatever sorts of alcohol were in those bottles, it didn’t matter, because the men finished it all. He goes on saying “for some reason I thought about how Mother and I would have to pick up the mess in the morning.”( Lapcharoensap 115) The boy sees what his father and his friends left behind. He has a feeling he knows where they are going, but attempts to not believe it. Instead he thinks of what is going to come in the morning. He automatically assumes him and his mother will have to take responsibility for the mess his father left. This could mean that he and his mother have had to clean up his mess before, that this isn’t the first time his father got drunk with friends and left their mess and that when his father had left his mess, he never took responsibility in cleaning it up the next day. If this is the case, this would mean that his father and his friends were no saints. Throughout the story, his father and the people of his society looked down on the refugees because they were considered dirty and a lesser person. They looked down on the refugees because they were ruining their neighborhood. Yet, there is nothing classy about leaving drunken messes on a front lawn. The people are pretending they live in this perfect society...
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