She has already become a social critic and knows that her experience is representative of an entire generation of young Vietnamese. Her occupation as a street trader, which in his eyes makes her a member of the despised bourgeoisie, is an embarrassment to him and a hindrance to his career.
Aunt Tam takes into her house her distant relative, Madame Dua because "a single drop of our own blood, even a hundred times diluted, is worth more than swamp water. There are only two occasions when she briefly accepts male friendship, from the man on the train and from the Bohemian, both of whom treat her in a fatherly, protective way.
This is not so unusual.She can be nasty sometimes, Hang says, but she is kind and affectionate to Hang, lending her one of her hand-made shawls to keep her warm on the trip to Moscow. Hang hears through friends that she is neurotic and a bully, often losing her temper with her students for no reason. Khoa has a reputation for inviting prostitutes to visit his room. What experiences have been most influential in the formation of your own value system? Although the machine is soon found where its forgetful owner had hidden it, the discovery comes only after recriminations that crush the girl's sense of self-worth and of importance to her comrades. A similar image occurs in chapter 2, where Hang refers to life as "this flower plucked from a swamp. He is a kind, older man, and is very protective of Hang.
If only my mother could feel this revolt. Hence Hang's reflections, as the book is nearing its conclusion, on "my own paradise, etched into the final evening of my childhood … the magical, unique paradise of childhood.
At Tet, she takes more gifts for the boys, but Hang does not enjoy the visit and decides she will never visit her uncle again.
We first meet Hang, the intelligent narrator, in her early twenties, as an exported worker in a Russian textile factory after she has left university to support her recently crippled mother because she is the docile and dutiful daughter trained to self-sacrifice.
It is ten years since he and his sister have seen each other.