Saving Sourdi

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* How does your response to Nea develop over the course of the story? Is she a dynamic or static character? Explain. Nea, the younger sister, has difficulty growing up and maturing as her own life, as well as her sister’s life, progresses. Her naivety, aggression, and anxiety influence her decisions throughout the story in a negative way. Nea is a flat and static character. Throughout the story she does not change, she remains childish in her actions and decisions.

* Explain how Nea and Sourdi serve as character foils to each other. Nea is extremely protective of Sourdi. Her desire to fend for her “China Doll” sister (69) is the stem of all her decisions throughout the story. Sourdi is the prettier and more desirable sister. Nea believes that her role in life is to protect Sourdi. As the plot progresses, however, it is easy to see that Sourdi is in fact quite strong and unbreakable.

* Discuss whether you think Duke is a flat or round character. Provide examples from the story to support your view.

* What is the effect of the story’s being told from Nea’s perspective? How might the story be different if it were told from the mother’s point of view? She is years younger than Sourdi and of course their mother. She has almost no memories of Cambodia. Most of her life and her memories have been shaped by America and her schooling there. Also, her sense of possibilities is greater as her English is quite fluent. Her older sister will always have an accent and feels insecure about this. Whereas Nea thinks her sister’s voice is beautiful. In my opinion, if the story was told by anyone else, the reader’s view of the characters in general but more specifically women, would change dramatically.

- Do you think Mr. Chhay is a good or bad husband? Explain why you think that way. It is not until another man, Mr. Chhay, arrives that Nea finally warms up to Duke. Like Duke, Nea sees Mr. Chhay as another man trying to take Sourdi away. Again, Nea sets out...
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