First They Killed My Father Seminar Questions Directions

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First They Killed My Father

Seminar Questions
Directions: Use the following questions in preparation for our First, They Killed My Father seminar. Answer each question in at least one paragraph and incorporate textual evidence with appropriate page numbers (at least one integrated quotation per response) as part of your answers. Your questions and typed responses are due the day of the seminar.

  1. Based on your reading, describe the cultural and political context in Cambodia that allowed the Khmer Rouge to seize power in Cambodia.

  1. Loung Ung chooses to write First, They Killed My Father in the persona of her childhood self. Choose a passage from the first 80 pages that best exemplifies that persona. Then, using textual evidence, analyze the impact writing from that persona has on the tone and message of the book.

  1. Even within the first portion of the book, Ung’s character has already started to transform away from the innocence of childhood. Choose at least 2 passages from the book that best illustrate this transition and analyze how she uses the text to illustrate that change.

  1. Find the section on page 59 where Ung describes the loss of her red dress. Why is the dress significant for her and why is losing it such a memorable and traumatic experience?

  1. During their stay in Ro Leap, Ung says, “Though the Angkar says we are all equal in Democratic Kampuchea, we are not.” Revisit that section and explain the contrast between the purported philosophy of the Khmer Rouge and the reality of life in Cambodia during its reign. Note: You may NOT use the quote in the question as your required integrated quotation.

  1. Propaganda is deceptive information or rumors spread to further one’s cause. Find at least 2 examples of propaganda between pages 129-143 (“The Child Soldiers”). Explain how each is an example of propaganda and how the Khmer Rouge used that propaganda to seize and retain control in Cambodia.

  1. Analyze how Ung’s character changes in response to the increased amounts of violence that Ung witnesses and experiences during the book.

  1. In “The First Foster Family,” Kim, Chou, and Loung find a family to take them in. Describe the relationship between the Ung children and their foster family. Hypothesize why the two families never form a closer bond.

  1. Revisit the beginning of the chapter “From Cambodia to Vietnam” when Meng and Loung arrive in Phnom Pen. Analyze how the destruction of Phnom Pen mirrors the destruction of Loung and other Cambodian children’s innocence.

  1. At the end of the story, Loung, Meng, and Eang are headed to America. Describe the mood as they ready to board the plane. Is this a good place for Ung to end her narrative? Why or why not?

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