Kim-Ly: Matriarch Of The Vo Family

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Because of her role as the matriarch of the Vo family, Kim-Ly cannot talk to her family about the traumatic events she went through in Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon in 1975, and during her escape from the country. Because of her role as matriarch, she does not want to be vulnerable, in fear that she will somehow let down her family. There is also a lack of communication. Whenever she tries to talk about what happened to her in Vietnam, it comes across as her trying to guilt trip her children for leaving her. During a fight between Tuyet and Kim-Ly over the money she was sending to Viet’s girlfriend, Kim-Ly mentions Vietnam. “‘That’s not love.’ Kim-Ly said. ‘That’s guilt. I trust the child who cared for me in Vietnam, when I really needed it. You chose to leave me there.’ Tuyet raised her hands and dropped them, always the dramatic. ‘I never wanted to leave you, Mother. But you forced me,…show more content…
She doesn’t have any connections back to Vietnamese cultures and ways of thinking except through her family. She is denied this, however, because her role is to protect her brother and to somehow infect him with the knowledge that her and Dat possess. She is always supposed to be an example for her brother and to protect him. ‘How could you let this happen?’ she furiously whispered. ‘Why weren’t you watching your brother?’ ‘I was,’ Cherry argued. ‘You’re supposed to protect each other,’ she said. ‘He would never let this happen to you.’” (Phan, 77). Even when she is the younger sibling, Cherry is supposed to protect her brother from his decisions. She is even expected to force her ways upon him. This is all because those are the actions her family expects her to take as a sister and a woman. She, like Lum eventually reaches a sort of power to take control of her life at the end of the novel. However, she also struggles to overcome this throughout the text because of her family’s expectations of her as a

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