First They Killed My Father

Topics: Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, Phnom Penh Pages: 3 (1159 words) Published: September 3, 2010
“There is such hate and rage inside me now that I know I have the power to destroy and kill.” Do you think Loung’s hate and rage made her strong in the face of adversity? Discuss.

The novel, First They Killed My Father, written by and told from the perspective of Loung Ung, is a chilling tale of a disturbed childhood, where the impact and influence of the communist government, the Khmer Rouge, fuels the anger and perpetual loathing of the regime which she claims to be the sole reason of the separation of her family, in addition to her many problems that she now faces. Although she is positioned into a state of danger and vulnerability, Loung continues to feed her images of spite and anger with the cruel intentions of the Khmer Rouge, defining her purpose of survival and hope.

When Loung is initially relocated from the streets of Phnom Penh to the harsh conditions of Krang Troup, she is sitting on the fence as to which mindset she wishes to embrace, whether it be to rebel against the idea and the concept of the communist regime, or to accept that this change in lifestyle is potentially a turn for the better. She ends up going with her father’s conscience, for he is a figure whom she both admires and respects with great reverence. “At five, I am oblivious to the events of war, yet I know Pa to be brilliant, and therefore he must be right.” Loung comes across a clever but somehow curious character, always inquisitive in regards to her surroundings and her fellow residents.

As the family ventures further into this new manner of living, Loung begins to sense that something is wrong, and starts to become opinionated on the topic of the Khmer Rouge, as she learns more about their background and what they intend to do. It all appears to be such a dramatic change from her first environment to the next, all in one rough transition. “Yesterday I was playing hopscotch with my friends. Today we are running from soldiers with guns.” This sequence of events is one that...
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