Living in Sea Oak is dangerous, very dangerous. You have gang violence, men’s strip clubs and stores with names like “DrugTown”. The narrator, Min, Jade, and their children are all stuck in this horrible city because they’ve never strived for anything greater in life. Aunt Bernie, promoted greeter at the hometown supermarket, plans on changing this mindset, as she shockingly is resurrected from the grave in order to save the family from imminent disaster. Because Aunt Bernie lived her life morally and was always very optimistic, when she dies and then is suddenly resurrected, she realizes that the only way to get what you want out of life is to take charge and use everything you have to your advantage.
Aunt Bernie’s attitude before she dies is really positive and optimistic, causing her to never demand better for herself and her family. When introducing the reader to Aunt Bernie, the narrator says, “Once this guy backed over her foot at FoodKing and she walked home with ten broken bones. […] When I say…show more content… Talking to the children in the house Bernie says to Jade, “Tomorrow you start work. […] Wear something nice. Show a little leg. […] At the end of the month, we take the money you made […] and get a new place. Somewhere safe (113).” Aunt Bernie knows that in order for Jade to get paid she needs to show of her body, and use her assets to her benefit. Bernie also now realizes that she needs to move the kids away from Sea Oak to safety and a better life. “Min. You baby-sit. Plus you quit smoking. Plus you learn how to cook. No more food out of cans (113).” Aunt Bernie wants Min to get a life, do something productive, and to learn how to provide food for herself. She doesn’t want her buying food in a can anymore but, instead learning how to make home-cooked meals and provide for