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The Idea Of Family Love In Lung Ung Lucky Child

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The lucky child tells of the life of one family ruined by the reign of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.  Lung Ung tells of her experience and that of her family enduring many years of hunger, deprivation and the loss at the hand of a cruel regime.  The story recounts the emotional suffering of the whole family as they were forced to live apart when Lung and her brother moves to the United States leaving behind their sister Chou and two brothers. Throughout the story, Lung shows a strong family bond and their two different lives hers in the United States where she got everything and that of her sister in Cambodia where she was struggling to get daily needs. There is a strong idea of family love and bond that clearly demonstrate that blood is thicker than water.  Let us explore this idea and how it is developed in the book. (Ung, 2006)

Living apart but together at heart

After suffering in the refugee camp in Thailand, Lung finally gets a chance to move with her brother to the United States in 1980 when she was only 10years old.  This was after enduing years of hunger and violence in her home country. She considered herself as the lucky child because her elder brother Meng believed that she had all the chances of making it in the new land. (Ung, 2006)

Unlike in her homeland, the war torn Cambodia, Lung finds a new life in America.  Though her description she contrast the life in the two countries and how she struggles to adapt to the new life she has found.  Although deeply hurt and with scars of war, Ung was somehow to be in America where she finds a new life of peace. She has to learn adapting to many changes. As she describes it, she had to learn about Disney Characters and the use of Christmas trees in order to fit to her new found friends. She struggles to understand the new life in a nation of liberty, peace and prosperity. She is amazed that the fourth of July fireworks sounds familiar but to her relieve, they are not bombs. She no longer has to hoard for food as there is enough for her to eat.

However she sharply contrasts her life with that of her sister Chou. It is through describing her sister experience in their homeland Cambodia that Lung develops the idea of family bond and attachment.  She is happy in her new life but not without remembering what her sister is undergoing in Cambodia.  There is a very sharp contrast in her description of hunger. While her sister Chou is facing physical hunger of having to struggle for food daily, Lung does not experience physical hunger. After all there is enough for her to eat and she does not have to hoard for food. However she is experiencing family hungers. She cannot forget what her sister and other siblings are going through in Cambodia.  In many instance in her writing Lung brings out the desire she had to meet her brothers and sisters again.

According to her perception, there cannot be life if there is no family around you to give you support.  As she implies for her to feel the she is living her life to the fullest, she has to live with her family.  From this description we can deduces the close family attachment in Cambodian families which sharply contrast the situation in the United States. The family is a source of inspiration through support. The family provides an enabling growth environment for children and other members too.


From the lucky child, the idea of personal satisfaction from the interaction with family members comes out clearly. It is difficult for Lung to find satisfaction in life despite experiencing the best of unites sates life while she very well understands what her sister and other siblings are going through.


Ung, L. (2006): Lucky Child: A daughter of Cambodia reunites with the sister she left behind. New York: Harper Collins Publishers

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