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First They Killed My Father

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  • Pages: 8
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Death and Revenge

* P 146 – I hate the soldiers… I etch their faces into my memory and plan for the day when I come back and kill them.

* P 159 – We are all different now… I am sad and many days I wish I am dead.

* P 143 – My hate empowers and scares me… Rage makes me want to survive.

* P 251 – Holding on to my hate for the Khmer Rouge soldiers also allows me to go on living the mundane details of life.

* P 168 – I need the new memories that make me angry to replace the old ones that make me sad. My rage makes me want to live just to come back and take my revenge.

* P 142- … My stomach hurts so much I want to cut it open and take the poison out.

* P 167 – I occupy mu mind with thoughts of revenge and massacre.

* P 146 – … Plan for the day when I can come back and kill them.

* P 157 – I am going to kill them on.

* P 132 – … Hunger and death have numbered our spirits. It is as if we have lost all our energy for life.

* P 139 – There is so much hate and rage inside me now. The Angkar has taught me to hate so deeply that I now know I have the power to destroy and kill.

* P 227 – My rage made me strong and resilient… Now, however, enclosing the memories in my heart and mind is unendurable

Family and Insecurity

* P 5 – I don’t understand this, but I like the smile he gives me… I believe everything Pa tells me. * P 305 – Chou always asked about what I was doing – I never wrote back. * P 143 – To hope is to let pieces of myself die. To hope is to grieve his absence and acknowledge the emptiness in my soul without him. * P 262 – … Everything about Khouy gives you the impression of hardness. * P 157 – … Helpless and unable to protect his own family. * P 156 – They have hurt you, my poor little monkey.

* P 84 – Kim knows he has to endure their cruelty to help feed his family. * P 122 – … To protect myself, I often have to rub dirt and charcoal on my skin to look as dark as the band base people. * P 5 – I believe everything Pa tells me.

* P 161 – You are just too much work for me! I want you to leave. * P 281 – Meng… Your life is not your own anymore. You have a family to take care of. * P 302 – Don’t worry. Wherever you go, I will find you. * P 298 – Being a Christian will help us get sponsors faster. * P 26 – The only thing I am afraid of is my brother Khouy… I fantasise about how much I hate him. I cannot wait until I am strong and as big as he is. * P 119 – I stay more and more to myself.

* P 160 – If we stay together, we will die together.
* P 293 – With ashen faces, some of the younger, prettier girls reach into the bags we have vomited into and scoop out handfuls of it to smear on their hair and clothes. * P 147 – Life is so hard without Pa.

* P 151 – Yet I fear for Kim’s safety.
* P 5 – Pa always defends me – to everybody.
* P 53 – Why can’t we go home to our own house?
* P 54 – I don’t care much about politics. All I know is that I am supposed to act dumb and never speak of our lives in the city. * P 97 – My heart feels as if an animal has clawed it out. I try to muster a smile, so I can send my sister on her way with a final picture of hope. * P 178 – I am alone here, even though I eat the same food and sleep in the same hut with eighty girls. * P 226 – … Most of all I cry for Kim.

* P 137 – In my heart I know the truth, but my mind cannot accept the reality of what this all means. * P 96 – … He wears a mask of courage that stretches tight over his inflexible face. * P 160 – … If they cannot find us, they cannot kill us… her words stab my heart like a thousand daggers. * P 3 – The most troublesome child

* P 148 – I see Ma in a very different light now and have more pride in her strength Khmer Rouge
* P 36 – Destroyers of things
* P 209 – Their faces flood my consciousness.
* P 24 – … They’re not nice people.
* P 62 – We will go wherever they choose to take us.
* P 29 – Keav, why are the soldiers so mean to us?
* P 168 – The water washes away the dirt, but it will never put out the fire of hate I have for the Khmer Rouge. * P 98 – Keav follows the soldiers … and never turns to look at us. * P 41-42 – … All knowing and has eyes and ears everywhere * P 37 – Pa does not look the soldier in the eyes… from now on we are to give the soldiers anything they want. * P 193 – Please comrade … Have mercy, I have a young, sick daughter


* P 195 – I have done nothing
* P 55 – I am afraid to speak
* P 201 – Each of us keeps our memories of them private and safely locked up in the boxes of our own hearts * P 136 – His arms tight around me, Pa holds me and kisses my hair. It has been a long time since he has held me this way * P 131 – Screams out pain

* P 96 – Meng’s face hides nothing
* P 143 – I have no room for sadness
* P 174 – Laughter has become a distant memory and I cherish the echo of a different time * P 53 – My body trembles with fear and disbelief
* P 120 – Loung… You get on my nerves too much
* P 141 – Pa prays silently
* P 275 – And Geak – I have the hardest time finding words * P 12-13 – When I am brave… I dare myself to look at my toes * P 137 – Pa’s face is rigid and calm

* P 203 – I put a marker on the old woman’s grave.
* P 195 – I flinch with shame… I have done nothing
* P 62 – Friendship does not matter
* P 275 – To Geak, I keep silent
* P 190 – I continue to stare at her hand, too afraid to look at her face and see my guilt in her eyes. * P 173 – … There was no room for laughter
* P 276 – I wonder how much I am to blame for his decision * P 96 – Meng’s face hides nothing from us
* P 282 – I will never understand how Chou ever survived * P 137 – I have seen Pa leave the house many times… but I have never seen her this upset * P 195 – Looking at her makes me want to die inside

* P 194 – I know she hurts and feels pain. It is rare when she does not trash and cry in her sleep. * P 145 – I know I will never see her truly smile again * P 106 – I do not know what to do with my despair

* P 212 – It is black all around me, soothing and empty. My pain and sadness no longer feel real or personal * P 209 – Poor little Geak, she never got anything good out of life * P 168 – I watch without emotion

* P 265 – … My heart races with excitement
* P 111 – Concave faces have the appearance of what they will look like once the flesh rots away * P 153 – He doesn’t know how long she will live if he doesn’t do this * P 129 – A strange chill runs up her spine. She knows it to be pure fear Recognising Difference

* P 56 – I cannot mention the food I wish I could eat, the movies I have seen, or the cyclo I have ridden in * P 10 – I know we are middle – class because of our apartment and the possessions we have * P 71 – We are different, your Ma speak Khmer with a Chinese accent, you kids have lighter skin * P 33 – Ma goes away and comes back with a bunch of paper sheets in her hand… Ma! It’s money. I can’t use money * P 63 – At five years old, I am beginning to know what loneliness feels like, silent and alone * P 220 – … A classless pure agrarian society

Growing Up

* P 239 – I do possess the one thing I need to make something of myself one day: I have everything Pa gave me * P 307 – As I tell people about genocide, I get the opportunity to redeem myself. I’ve had the chance to do something that’s worth me being alive… The more I tell people, the less the nightmares haunt me * P 170 – Chou, you’re older than me, stop being so weak * P 161 – We have all learned to be silent with our emotions * P 41 – I feel sorry for them knowing they are worse off than I am * P 178 – … but to train the mind is much more difficult * P 5 – … Clear signs of her cleverness


* P 105 – I understand now that they had to steal to survive * P 105- 106 – The more I eat the hungrier I become
* P 113 – Her breasts were empty sacks hanging against her ribs, but nevertheless she lovingly put them into the boy’s mouth. * P 275 – Instead, I place the rice near here and leave before she can say anything * P 73 – … Her skin hangs on her bones, and her eyes are dulled with hunger * P 105 – Hunger eats at my sanity

* P 108 – The woman ate dead husband
* P 68 – When we catch animals, we eat everything…
* P 203 – By taking her food I have helped kill her
* P 146 – I want to kill myself knowing that it was I who stole the food from her mouth Metaphors / Similes
* P 75 – I don’t understand why they are looking at me as if I am a strange animal, when in reality, we look very much the same * P 239 – You are a diamond in the rough and with a little polishing, you will shine * P 162 – Although he is only twelve his eyes have the look of an old man *

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