First They Killed My Father Themes

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It is hard to imagine a life where people have to leave their family multiple times and fear that they will lose a family member at any moment. Loung Ung, a Cambodian girl, had to endure this through most of her childhood. She has to deal with the loss of most of her family at the young age of five. Family plays an important role within people’s lives. Without them, life becomes a challenge many never thought of having. The theme of First They Killed My Father is to not take family for granted because people never know when a tragedy might occur. Throughout her childhood, Loung Ung, and her family, Geak, Chou, Kim, Keav, Meng, Khouy, Pa, and Ma have to fight to survive through the traumatic experiences of the Cambodian genocide. What…show more content…
After sending Keav to a labor camp, Loung’s family receives notice that Keav is very sick and on the brink of death. Loung remembers, “People have always said that Keav and I were similar in many ways. We looked almost identical to each other and were also alike in personality… I wrap my arms around my stomach and double over in pain, falling to the ground. In the thick grass, my tears pour out for my sister and seep into the earth” (Ung 99). This quote can connect to the theme because tragedy occurred and Loung was not prepared. She felt that she did not have enough time spent with her sister Keav and felt devastated when Keav was killed. The death of Pa has had a large effect on Loung and her family. They miss him greatly and have deep depression after his death. Loung whispers, “’I miss you so much, Pa.’ ‘It is so hard to live without you. I am so sick of missing you’” (Ung 121). This quote can relate to the theme because she did not know that Pa would be killed and is realizing how hard life is without him. She understands not to take family for granted because living under the Khmer Rouge, she would never know when a family member would be
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