When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

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In the book When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by Le Ly Hayslip, Le Ly was just one of many peasants trying to survive during war time. Survival meant having to make some hard decisions; decisions that may make peasants go against their roots. However, as we see Le Ly do throughout the book, peasants do not completely abandon their family traditions. Le Ly was very close to her father and kept everything he taught her in mind while she made some difficult choices. "My father taught me to love god, my family, our traditions, and the people we could not see: our ancestors" (ix). With her father's help, she was able to honor her past, provide for her family's needs, and give her son a chance for a better future. If Le Ly was unable to adequately provide for her family, she felt she let her father and ancestors down. Le Ly never forgot about honoring the past while trying to better conditions for her future generations. Le Ly's father had a big influence in her life. Her father had once told her "Right is the goodness you carry in your heart—love for your ancestors and your baby and your family and for everything that lives. Wrong is anything that comes between you and that love" (201). After her father died, she realized just how connected the past is with the future and was determined to please her father's spirit in everything she did. Le Ly always listened for her father's spirit calling out to her; to his little peach blossom. Because of her father, she knew that she could, and should, go to America with her son for a better life. Once in America, Le Ly knew she could not sever her roots from the home she loved, as long as she was called to help her struggling home country. When she returned to Vietnam to see her family again, she saw the need for help and knew she was called back home for a reason. Once again she heard her father, this time welcoming her home. "Bay Ly, Bay Ly—my little peach blossom—why have you been gone so long" (315)? Her...
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