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First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung is a beautifully written novel of the first person perspective of Loung during the occupation of the Khmer Rogue. Throughout the novel, the author creates an immersive atmosphere by building a setting that helps deliver the impact and significance of the novel through character development. This combined with the use of simple, yet strong diction that allows the readers to understand even if they are not familiar with the asian culture allows the book to stand out apart from other books of the same kind. Her use of sensory details places the reader in the memories of Loung during the occupation and forces the reader to understand or picture the things that Loung has seen and endured. Ung has had a set of difficult experiences that have built her into the person that she is today and those same defining characteristics are shown by Loung throughout the novel. They are shown so strongly that they become contagious and the feelings that she feels bleed into the reader like Pa bled into the soil. Loung the character is always afraid of the things to come, always afraid of the threat of starvation, always afraid of losing another family member. But Loung would always hold onto her hope no matter how dark or black the coming days seemed to loom over her weary head. Her hope was surprising no matter how many times she stared death in the face at the brink of starvation, Loung always found a way to cling onto the best of the worst of the given situation. No matter how dark the position she was in, she could always find a way to make it better or find the strength in herself to keep plodding forward even if it would all be for nothing. It is nearly impossible to deconstructed what Ung has written due to all the complex natures of her writing and experiences. However, these elements really help to define what the novel is, what the novel does, and what the impact of the novel is. First They Killed My Father is a story of how dark humans can be, but at the same time reminds you how strong and inspiring a single soul can be at the same time.



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