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Hello May Lee,
As a student, I am assigned to answer these questions about you. Sincerely I looked everywhere but I thought it was best to ask you directly, here are some of the questions, thank you for your time. I enjoyed the story !!!
– When you decided to write this story, why did you
choose the point of view that you did? Why was this
point of view more effective in achieving your purpose
than another point of view?
– Which one of your characters can be the best
character for Psychological analysis? Using which
– Why were the place and time settings you chose
important in creating the
themes/messages you were attempting to produce?
– How is your real life reflected in the plot of this story?
– Did you purposely set out to use symbols or to create
symbolism in this story? How? Where? Please explain.
I don’t think I could answer all these questions without actually writing a paper myself.
But here are some that I can answer. I’m not answering them in the order you asked your questions, but in the order that I can think of answers quickly. 🙂
1) My real life is NOT reflected in the plot of this story. (At least not directly.)
2) I do use symbols and symbolism in this story. I don’t think your teacher would appreciate if I explain every one of them for you, but think about the snow falling at the end of the story, for example. How does that reflect Nea’s mood?
3) In terms of place and time, it has to take place in the 1980s or the family couldn’t be war refugees from the Khmer Rouge era (1975-1978 ) in Cambodia. If it were later, the children would have to be older or else they wouldn’t have experienced that war. In terms of place, I chose a rural area where the family is isolated physically and culturally. If they lived in a large city, where it was easier to get around—for example if Nea could just hop on a bus or catch a cab to visit her older sister, then there’s no suspense in the story, or certainly, there would be less suspense, and less effort needed on her part to reach her sister. If they were not isolated culturally, Nea might have other people she could reach out to in an effort to understand what’s going on. Also, the dating situation would have been different for Sourdi as well as the financial situation for the family. Their problems might have been different as well. Here they have problems making a living running a restaurant in a small town. In a bigger city, where people are more accustomed to eating Chinese food, it might not have been that big of a problem. Other problems might have been larger in their lives: gangs, crime, competition from other restaurants, etc.
4) I think you can analyze any of the characters psychologically, but Nea, Sourdi and Ma have more information about them in the story; thus it would be easier to analyze them with the information given.
5) In terms of point of view, think how the story would be different if it were written from Sourdi’s POV. It wouldn’t be suspenseful; the plot would have to be entirely different. Perhaps it would become the story of a young woman who experienced a hellish war and is trying to build her own family in the States despite her unhappy memories. If it were from the mother’s POV, again the plot would have to be entirely different. It would be the story of a struggling single mother with five children, an immigrant and war refugee with very little financial resources, trying to learn the language and culture of a new country, trying to survive, and trying to live despite all her losses—the loss of her husband, her family, her culture, her language, her previous status before the war. In terms of this plot, Nea must be the narrator in order for there to be suspense and in order to tell the story of the strong relationship between the two sisters. Can you think how having the story from Nea’s point of view is useful in creating suspense? Also, how does telling the story from Nea’s point of view reveal her relationship to Sourdi? (If you think about how you can answer these two questions, I think they will help you to answer the question about the psychology of the character.) 🙂
Good luck on your paper!
[Note: for information on my upcoming novel about the characters in “Saving Sourdi,” click here: Saving Sourdi novel: DRAGON CHICA]
For updates on the novel DRAGON CHICA and background information, follow @Dragon_Chica on Twitter.