Honors English 32402
17 November 2014 Revision of Values
Mass killings of specific groups, races, or sexes are all a part of genocide. Although many people today are not educated about all of the genocides that have occurred in the past, many of the genocides have had tremendous effects that will last forever. On April 17, 1975, the Khmer
Rouge took over Cambodia and drastically changed the way of life for everyone. The Khmer
Rouge soldiers forced the Ung family to evacuate their home, and at that time, they did not realize they were never to return. In First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung shows that during times of struggle, whether minuscule or brobdingnagian, people often discard their values and undergo a personality change in order to survive. Loung abandoned her innocence, hope and her insufficient work ethic.
Loung was a very innocent five year old who could not grasp the concept of random killing. When Loung finds out that someone attempted to kill Pa, she was disgusted. Loung said, “My heart is sick at the thought that someone actually tried to hurt Pa. If only these new people in the city could understand that Pa is a really nice man…” (Ung 11). Loung does not understand why anyone could ever dare to hurt another person, especially when the target is someone they do not know at all. As the hardships continue, she gradually loses her innocence.
Secondly, Loung began to have thoughts of brutally torturing people that have wronged her in any way. Loung said, “I occupy my mind with thoughts of revenge and massacre… I will make them suffer twice the blows I’ve suffered by their hands.” (127). Loung has changed; the Khmer
Rouge have caused her to dream of the killings rather than being disgusted with them. As the experiences continue, her hatred boils higher and higher. Lastly, Loung runs happily to see a
Khmer Rouge soldier killed. When Loung hears about the upcoming execution, she tells Chou
“I have to go. We get to kill one of them for once.”(204). Loung has reached her tipping point, she no longer feels disgusted by reckless killings, and her painful experiences have caused her to enjoy any type of revenge she can. Loung has changed from an innocent little girl to a little girl who craves revenge and death for those who have hurt her in any way.
Loung’s hope of returning to her normal life slowly decreases as they remain away from home longer, and longer. For example, as the mass departure occurred Loung still had strong hope that her and her family would be returning in three days’ time. When Loung had had enough walking, she told Pa “Our three days will soon be over. We can return home. Let’s just go home. I want to go home.”(29). Loung has not realized the lies that came from the soldiers yet and she tried to stay positive. As the Ung’s get farther and farther from home, her hope slowly diminishes. In addition, Pa is bringing Loung to the realization that the soldiers are not on their side. After Pa told Loung the soldiers lied, Loung said, “My body trembles with fear and disbelief. I am never going home. I will never see Phnom Penh again… All of that is gone” (40).
Loung realizes from the sternness in Pa’s voice that they will never, return to their home. Loung still had slight hope that life will get better, just not in the same place. Lastly, Loung had been through it all. , she saw nothing left for her in the future. After being degraded by her foster
mom, Loung said, “She is right. I am an orphan with no future.” (183). Loung heard the comments from her foster mother and began to believe the words she said. She does not have any faith that there will be a way out. Loung tried to keep hope but throughout all of the pain she endured, it was obvious that her hope for a better life was becoming very thin.
Loung slowly matures and begins to learn to work hard and fend for