Premium Essay

Nea and Sourdi

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kyleloewen
Words 440
Pages 2
Kyle Loewen
Professor D’Alotto
English Comp II
01 February 2016
“Saving Sourdi” Critical Reading Response In the short story “Saving Sourdi,” two sisters by the names Nea and Sourdi have polar personalities. The contrasting attitudes of these siblings cause them to handle situations very differently. Although they grow up together, their characters develop in different ways. The younger sister, Nea, is the somewhat controlling one. She seems to take on the "oldest" sister role, instead of the younger sister that she is. She wants everything to stay the way they were when they were little, but that does not happen. Sourdi is much more calm and compliant compared to her little sister, and she rarely voices her opinion. Nea falls behind maturity-wise while her sister Sourdi continuously matures. This is likely due to her aggressive behavior and anxiety, which both play negative roles throughout the story. At the beginning of the story, Nea shares how “some men got drunk and I stabbed one of them” (Chai 81) when she was only eleven years old. This immediately tells the reader that she was not a normal child. Nea’s mother arranges Sourdi’s marriage to a wealthy older man named Mr. Chhay. This is where the author really sets up the characters. Although Sourdi is unhappy about the arrangement, she does nothing to change it and just accepts that this is the way it will be and hopes for the best. However, Nea voices her opinion to her mother, who is unwilling to listen. Nea is skeptical about Mr. Chhay throughout the entire story and questions the way he treats her sister. She does not like him from the beginning because she feels that he stole Sourdi from her. At the end of the story, Nea wants to be the heroin and save her sister from the awful Mr. Chhay. However, Nea discovers that Mr. Chhay is not such a bad man and that Sourdi is happy with her new life. Nea then…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Saving Sourdi

...siblings. You want to care and love on them as much as possible. Saving Sourdi demonstrates the love one sibling can have for another sibling as well as the struggle it takes to care for a loved one. In Saving Sourdi, May-Lee Chai utilizes sibling love, family protection, and courage as the three themes that Nea demonstrates for her older sister. The first theme, sibling love, shows the relationship between Nea and her older sister. Their relationship goes back and forth between good and bad. “Uncle fired Duke… It was during the Saturday lunch rush when Sourdi and I were not working and could not witness what had happened” (May-Lee Chai 74). This is good because they get to see each other and spend time together. “Now when I crept into Sourdi’s bed at night, when she talked about running away, she meant Duke and her” (May-Lee Chai 74). This is not a good situation because her older sister talks about running away with Duke. If this happened, Nea would never get to see her sister anymore. Having sisterly love is important because you need that special connection if you have a problem. You may not want to talk with your parents right away about something but need someone to be there for you. A sister connection would be good in that situation. The next theme, family protection, shows what Nea would do to save her sister. “I grabbed the knife and ran back out to Sourdi” (May-Lee Chai 70). Nea grabs a knife and comes back out to the bar and protects her sister......

Words: 556 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Saving Nea

...Saving Nea In the short fictional story, “Saving Sourdi,” author May-lee Chai focuses on the bond and relationship between two sisters, Nea and Sourdi. Nea, the younger sibling in “Saving Sourdi,” looks up and admires her older sister, Sourdi. As the two sisters grow in age, Nea isn’t ready to face reality and watch her older sibling start a life without her. Throughout the story, Nea makes desperate attempts to “save” her older sister. In reality, Nea is the character in the story that needs to be “saved”, rather than her sister. Nea, the protagonist and major character in “Saving Sourdi,” is immature and dramatic. At the age of eleven, Nea stabs a man at the restaurant, after hearing him call Sourdi a “China doll.” While Sourdi manages to remain calm during this event, Nea reacts without thinking of the consequences. Toward the end of the story, Nea calls Duke and tells him that her sister is in danger. “Look, I don’t have time to explain. We have to go tonight. It’s an emergency. A matter of life and death.”(Chai 91). Here, Nea acts without thinking and makes it sound like Sourdi will die if they don’t go to Des Moines. Nea’s decision to call Duke for help leads to Sourdi’s husband getting punched in the face. Also, this episode results in the two sisters growing further apart, which is not Nea’s intention. The mother brings some light onto Nea as a character. She tells Nea: “You not like your sister. Your sister know how to bear things!”(Chai 90). What does the mother......

Words: 988 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Saving Sourdi

...“Saving Sourdi” by Mailee Chai, is a story of a women name Sourdi , where her life is been arranged for marriage to a husband who will provide a lifestyle suitable to raising a family. However, she was provided with a good environment to raise their children in, and a strong man who will support their needs financially.  As a young child Sourdi was really close to her younger sister Nea; They talked about things every night before going to bed. Exclusively their relationship had fell down the Drain. When Sourdi, reached time for her to become a woman. She was arranged to get married to a man named Chhay, and moves out. Even though Nea didn’t like the whole situation, she had to deal with it. The fact her sister detached from her, and they barely see each other. When Nea answers one of Sourdi’s phone call one night, Sourdi Sound like she was crying. When Nea asked what happened , she ignored her question and asked for her mom. Nea got suspicious thinking Mr. Chhay had hit her sister. So Nea gets Sourdi ex-boyfriend and told him everything, but never mentioned that she never told Sourdi she was coming over, to see what was going on. When Nea and Sourdi ex-boyfriend Duke arrived at Sourdi place, Nea sat there, waiting for a sign to go in. When Nea got in Sourdi’s House. Sourdi was surprised because, she was not expecting any company over. Nea saw a bruise in Sourdi’s face. At that moment Nea thought Mr. Chhay had hit Sourdi. Duke made a big movement by knocking Mr. Chhay......

Words: 325 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Saving Sourdi

...Nea plays the stereotypical role of a young child, who believes she can change situations that are out of her control, looking for the power of Naga to save her sister Sourdi from any “danger” that comes her way. However, through the obstacles that her and her sister encounter, she comes to learn that true strength is realizing that you cannot always help or “save” someone; true strength is recognizing your own weaknesses and limitations as well. May-Lee Chai beautifully illustrates Nea as she transitions from childhood to adulthood. As she grows to learn that she has to let her sister go. Chai described Nea as a very naïve, but also a very compassionate girl. She would always refer to her family as a hard working group of people who wanted the best in life, that simply just couldn't gain an advantage. Nea understood that there was always a better life and wanted nothing less but for them to prosper. She described there upbringing as being rough as they once lived in the violent and harsh neighborhoods in Texas. "We lived packed together in an apartment with bars on the windows on a street where angry boys in cars played loud music and shot guns at each other in the night". Once they escaped the ghettos of Texas they moved to Northwest America with their Uncle who was the owner of a restaurant "The Silver Palace" during the multiple transitions Nea grew a very deep relationship with her sister Sourdi who she looked up to dearly "My sister was beautiful.” Nea had always......

Words: 365 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Nea the Antagoist

...Nea the Antagonist South Plains College April 20, 2015 Research Paper In May-Lee Chai’s “Saving Sourdi,” Nea would be the antagonist of the story if the literary development of point of view and characterization were different. Point of view and characterization in literature is what allows us to see, hear, and feel a story the way it is designed. An author’s attention to detail is crucial. He or she may put more focus into every small element in a setting or they may emphasize more on development of plot or character. Every literary piece is different. Point of view is an essential tool in arranging the world in a story that sets itself apart. Development of character can only begin after we know from where the story is coming. Chai writes “Saving Sourdi” in a first person point of view through a naïve character. We are “restricted to the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings of [this] single character” (Meyer 138). For the rest of my analysis it is important to remember this. The narrator tells a story of the two main characters and the relationship between them. The actions of our immature main character throughout the time of this story takes place continue to fail her, creating contrast between the two of them. The reader can tell this is happening, but because the story comes to us from this first person narrative, we also know that Nea truly believes she is doing the right thing. We can always know too much or too little of what we are supposed...

Words: 1161 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Saving Sourdi

...Saving Sourdi “The hardest part about growing up is letting go of what you were used to, and moving on with something you’re not.”- Kamari aka. Lyrikal Saving Sourdi is discussing a classic plot of the metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood. In her story, the two main characters Sourdi and Nea develop in distinct difference to each other. Nea, the younger sister, has difficulty growing up and maturing as her own life, as well as her sister’s life, progresses. Her naivety, aggression, and anxiety influence her decisions throughout the story in a negative way. Characters in this story are easily believable and relatable, everyone has had a point in their lives where they didn’t want to grow up, handled a situation poorly, or realized that their relationship with someone has changed drastically to the point of no repair. Nea, the protagonist, is a true hero. We can see her attempts at protecting her sister and watch as they fail time and time again. Nea is a flat and static character. Throughout the story she does not change, she remains childish in her actions and decisions. Their mother addresses this issue early on by saying, “You not thinking. That your problem. You always not think!” Growing and maturing is crucial in life. Some people, however. Nea can be described as an impulsive, strong-willed, and selfish adolescent who will never truly grow up. The family has never had it easy, always having to work and tolerate prejudice due to their foreign culture. Nea......

Words: 648 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Saving Sourdi

...In the story, "Saving Sourdi" by May-Lee Chai, the reader feels empathy for Nea because she was too young and naive to understand what was happening. The reader understands why Nea was upset about her sister, Sourdi moving on since they were typically best friends growing up. As a young child, kids usually try to act older and more mature than they are. They are noisy and want to know about every little thing. This is a normal characteristic that most children have acquire. Nea, the younger sister, has difficulty growing up and maturing in her own life, as well as her sister’s life, as it progresses. Her naivety and aggression influences her decisions throughout the story in a negative way. Chai’s character is easily believable and relatable. Everyone has had a point in their lives where they didn’t want to grow up, handled a situation poorly, or realized that their relationship with someone has changed drastically to the point of no repair. The reader experiences her attempts at protecting her sister and we watch as they fail time and time again. Nea is a flat and static character. Throughout the story she does not change. Nea remains childish in her actions and decisions. Their mother addresses this issue early on by saying, “You not thinking. That your problem. You always not think!” (Chai 70). Chai does not show us another side to Nea making her a flat character. We see her in the same light despite the life lessons she experiences. Nea is the same drastic,......

Words: 406 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Response to Saving Sourdi

...Reading Response #2 After reading “Saving Sourdi” and to define Nea, the little sister, I can say she is a static character. From the beginning to the end she stayed in the same state of mind. I found her hilarious. There were some things she would say for example, “ I should have fought harder then. I should have stabbed this man, too.” It’s as if she has no filter, no emotions towards people outside of her family. She loves her sister, and has a very difficult time accepting she wont always be around. A man will take her away from Nea and she will have to learn to accept that. Now reading “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie” was a challenge. This was not my favorite read. I caught myself saying aloud, ‘what the hell?’ “If she’s a whitegirl you know you’ll at least get a hand job.” I literally felt offended, but I continued to read on. He describes girls of different cultures in different offensive ways. I could easily say the same about the opposite sex (just saying). I knew from the beginning from reading the title this wasn’t going to be a walk in a park for me and shall be interesting. I understood the condition in the Terrace neighborhood wasn’t a nice area to live, so that sort of explains the type of people around the area. This story was very challenging for me to understand overall. Back to “Saving Sourdi”, Duke was a flat character. He developed feelings for Sourdi and didn’t nor couldn’t do much about her marring another fellow. He......

Words: 387 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Saving Sourdi Outline

...May-Lee Chai’s “Saving Sourdi,” 181-94 Background / Back-Story Places and events alluded to (you may wish to look up the following terms): Cambodia (183-84) Angkor Wat (194) the Naga (194) Phnom Penh Pol Pot the Khmer Rouge—1975-1979 Choeung Ek “the Killing Fields” Consider numerous references throughout the story to bones, fields, barbed wire Consider the images in Nea’s two dreams: 186, 191 Plot Sequence: The scenes are mostly chronological with a peripheral flashback to the scene when Nea was 4 and Sourdi was 9, and Sourdi “saved” Nea “in another world, a place almost unimaginable to me. . . . ” (191) Ages of Nea and Sourdi (Sourdi is 4½ to 5 years older than Nea)— 1. Opening scene when Nea stabs one of the drunks: Nea is 11 (181), Sourdi would be 15½ to 16. 2. Sourdi’s marriage to Mr. Chhay: Sourdi is 18 (187), Nea is 12½ 3. Scene nearly two years after the wedding when Nea and Duke drive to Des Moines, Iowa, to “save” Sourdi. Nea says she is 14½ (187). Nea says Sourdi is 20. Setting: What about the neighborhood where they live in South Dakota? They wanted to find “the real America, the one where we were supposed to live” (182). Cambodia to Texas to South Dakota. Each scene has its own particular setting and mood. Consider the importance of the setting of the field Duke wants to show the two girls (184- 85. Consider the description of Sourdi’s house and yard on Locust Street in DesMoines (191 ...

Words: 705 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Saving Sourdi

...Saving Sourdi is a short story, which deals with the struggles and perceptions of Nea, who is one of the characters. The main characters are the elder sister Sourdi and the younger sister Nea. These two sisters are close and grew together all through to their life. Their growth and togetherness exhibit their different roles played in this story thus clearly bringing out their definite characters. This story is illustrated to show how the character of Nea and her viewpoint shapes the interpretation of the reader about the story. Saving Sourdi is a tale that holds up the strong bonds of sisterhood and family and change as people grow to maturity. The story is created from a point of view that can influence how one views the characters and their choices. This short story by May-Lee Chai is quite interesting in showing how the characters ultimately play different roles. Nea, who is the sister to Sourdi, is the narrator as well as the principal protagonist in “Saving Sourdi” as they grow up into adulthood (Chai, 43). Although Nea and Sourdi grow up together, the development of their characters is differently manifested. Nea falls behind, maturity-wise, but Sourdi continuously matures. This is most likely due to her aggressiveness together with her nervous behavior that plays the negative roles all through the story. It is evident from the story that Nea continually attempts to save her sister all through the entire story but with no success over and over. Her action shows her......

Words: 2871 - Pages: 12

Free Essay

Saving Sourdi.

...Ashly Aquino Professor McIntyre ENC 1102 April 22, 2016 Saving Sourdi “Saving Sourdi” is a short story written by May-Lee Chai. This short story is about two sisters, Nea and Sourdi, who have a sisterly bond however, Nea the protagonist character starts feeling like her relationship with her sister is being threatened by the men that enters Sourdis life. This causes Nea to become a courageous, protective, and ignorant character throughout the story. While Nea assumes that she is helping her sister, she fails to realize that she makes the situation worse. The author uses characterization as a literary device to show how siblings can act towards a loved one ignoring the consequences that are yet to come. “A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves- a special kind of bond.” (Toni Morrison) Having a sister can be either a blessing or a curse. A sister can be your mirror, partner in crime, your midnight companion, and a teacher. For many it's a blessing however, at times a sister can bring out many attributes and moods. Nea and Sourdi are two sisters that grew up together and were seeking for the real America with their mother. The sisters encountered many events and shared many moments “…the two of us, so we could talk about things like boys at school or who......

Words: 1185 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Nea: Saving Sourdi Character Analysis

...Composition Turner Nea: Saving Sourdi Character Analysis “Saving Sourdi” by May-Lee Chai, discusses a classic plot of the metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood. In her story, the two main characters Sourdi and Nea develop in stark contrast to one another. Nea, the younger sister, has difficulty growing up and maturing as her own life, as well as her sister’s life, progresses. Her naivety, aggression, and anxiety influence her decisions throughout the story in a negative way. Chai’s character is easily believable and relatable, everyone has had a point in their lives where they didn’t want to grow up, handled a situation poorly, or realized that their relationship with someone has changed drastically to the point of no repair. Nea, the protagonist in “Saving Sourdi”, is a tragic hero. We experience her attempts at protecting her sister and watch as they fail time and time again. Nea is a flat and static character. Throughout the story she does not change, she remains childish in her actions and decisions. Their mother addresses this issue early on by saying, “You not thinking. That your problem. You always not think!” (Chai 70) Chai does not show us another side to Nea making her a flat character. We see her in the same light despite the life lessons she experiences. Nea is the same drastic, hardheaded child in the beginning as she is in the end. Growing and maturing is crucial in life. Some people, however, suffer from a sort of Peter Pan Syndrome. Nea can be......

Words: 1350 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Saving Sourdi Character Analysis

...Saving Sourdi (May-Lee Chai) Character and Saving Sourdi The short story Saving Sourdi by May-Lee Chai is an interesting story in how the characters play completely different roles. Nea, the narrator and Sourdi’s sister, is the main protagonist in the story as she and her sister grow up from children into adults. Although they grow up together, their characters develop differently, and Nea falls behind, maturity-wise, while Sourdi continuously matures. This is likely due to her aggressive behavior in combination with her anxiety, which play negative roles throughout the story. Nea is constantly attempting to save her sister throughout the entire story but fails over and over again; this shows Nea’s perseverance but also shows her aggressiveness. However, she never truly grows up in the story, while her sister develops into a woman. Nea is very plain and non-exciting, but she continuously tries to save her sister from situations. Does she remain childish so that she won’t be compared to her much more beautiful, older and more desirable sister, Sourdi? The theme of companionship is a very prominent and obvious theme as the story develops around the two sisters growing up. Nea and Sourdi had a close friendship as small children; Nea also tries to save Sourdi a considerable amount of times as they grow older. When Sourdi becomes of age, her mother arranges a marriage for her to Mr. Chhay. Sourdi and Nea are both unhappy about the decision, but Nea, unlike Sourdi,......

Words: 357 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Saving Sourdi Setting Analysis

...Literary Element: Setting Title: Saving Sourdi (May-Lee Chai) Setting and Saving Sourdi The story Saving Sourdi took place in the United States after their family had moved there while the girls were at a very young age. Sourdi’s family operated a bar in South Dakota, where the story opens with a recollection of Nea’s first saving of her sister, Sourdi. The setting of the bar plays a key role in developing the protective characteristics of Nea; the bar causes situations to arise where she feels that it is necessary to save Sourdi from the situation. Despite Sourdi being older than her sister, Nea still tries to save Sourdi from angry and/or drunk customers at the bar. Towards the end, the setting changes as Sourdi moves away to start her own life with her husband, Mr. Chhay, leaving Nea behind with her mother at home. Nea is upset that they have to be separated and is skeptical about Mr. Chhay, which helps even more with building the character of Nea. The theme of companionship ties in greatly with the setting of the story. This is present in the earlier parts of the story because the girls are growing up as sisters living under the same roof. They develop their friendship and love for their siblings as they mature together. Nea trails behind in maturity, but she is also younger than her sister, which is ironic because Nea still feels protective over Sourdi. As mentioned above, the setting changes as Sourdi is moved away after her arranged marriage to Mr. Chhay...

Words: 366 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Killings and Saving Sourdi Reviews

...Activity I: Saving Sourdi I believe that Mr. Chhay is a good and a bad husband. I believe that he is a good husband in the sense that it looks like he is a good provider for his family. They seem to have nice things, a nice house; Christmas presents under the tree, live in a nice neighborhood and are able to purchase new appliances. Things that Sourdi’s mother could never afford. This marriage was definitely arranged between the family and Mr. Chhay something I think that often occurs in that culture. This marriage doesn’t seem like a happy one full of love instead it’s kind of like a business arrangement. Sourdi supplies the family with children and her husband will provide all of their needs. I believe that Mr. Chhay is a bad husband because it looks like he has taken her away from her dreams. I don’t think this relationship has much love. Also seems as though he isolates her and doesn’t let her really have a relationship with her family. Every time Nea calls he says that Sourdi is not home or they just don’t pick up the phone at all. Nea thinks that Sourdi looks tired in the pictures that she sends maybe this is because she is the one doing all of the domestic work at home, taking care of the house and the children. So it just depends on how you look at it Mr. Chhay is a good provider, but does that outweigh not being in love. I think that Love is most important thing to have at the end of the day. Works Cited Chai, May-Lee. “Saving Sourdi.” The Bedford......

Words: 673 - Pages: 3