The Cambodian Genocide In First They Killed My Father

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The Cambodian Genocide took a toll on many and affected their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Throughout the genocide, the Khmer Rouge transported people to camps, deprived them of all of their possessions, starved them so they could barely work, separated them from their families resulting in relationships being torn apart, and forced them to conceal their past just so they can stay alive. This was the case with Luong Ung and her family. They went from being a wealthy family that was very tight-knit to each other to having most of them be killed and have no food or clothes. In the novel First They Killed My Father, Luong Ung portrays Pa as a generous and lovable man before the Cambodian genocide, but during the Cambodian genocide, Pa is drastically changed into a stern and isolated person.
In the beginning of First They Killed My Father, Pa is given the description of a very giving person. As Luong tells the audience about her family, she states that “If Ma
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According to Ung, the genocide has taken a huge toll on Pa’s personality. When Luong keeps pestering Pa to tell her when they will return to their normal lives, Pa responds, “You have to forget Phnom Penh’ Pa has never spoken so bluntly before, and slowly the reality of what he says sinks in” (Ung 40). Pa could usually tolerate Luong’s countless questions, but now he is very dismissive of Luong and has less patience with her. Pa exhibits his attitude change when the author reflects on the fact that “I hardly ever sit on his lap anymore. I miss his hugs and how he used to make me laugh at old Chinese stories” (43). This shows the audience that the bond between Pa and Luong has become weaker throughout the Cambodian genocide. Also, it shows that Pa has become more isolated from others, including his own family, since the Cambodian genocide started. Pa’s personality was transformed in many ways since the beginning of the Cambodian

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