Hey people of Fanfic. This isn't really a story, it's a collection of assignments. If you read through them I think you'll get the idea of the book, if you haven't read it that is. I plan on posting a story along with this, I just don't know what I'd do for, what it would be about, and most certainly not how it would end. Review me your ideas and maybe I could get one started... :D
Themes of the novel, Children of the River- meeting challenges.
One of the central ideas in the book Children of the River is meeting challenges. Sundara faces many challenges through out the book. The first challenge she runs into is leaving Cambodia to begin with, then the boat ride must have been awful. With so many people getting sick and all. Finally settling in America could not have been as rewarding as they thought. Having to learn many new customs, and sift through ones they could not come to terms with. Not to mention learning another language. Then, naturally, falling in love with a boy she simply would never be allowed to be with. And don't forget all the grief she already gets from her aunt about little thing (like how she's becoming more American everyday). On top of it all having to deal with the punishment of the lost life of Soka's only baby girl. How could Sundara handle it?
When Sundara left Cambodia she was not only leaving the village of her extended family; she was leaving behind almost all the hope that she would ever see her real family again. Her father had sent her away on a plane at the time just before her home village was bombed. She was sent to help her Younger Aunt Soka and Uncle Naro with the delivery of their new baby. When the Khmer Rouge began taking control of the government the people of the small village of Réam and many others like it fled their village. Since her Uncle had connections with people he was able to get his family - and Sundara - on the boat leaving the village. Anyone who could not get on was sure to die. Getting over the many truths that life was not as she knew it anymore was a great challenge for Sundara.
On the boat Sundara takes care of her Aunt Soka's child, because Soka is sick. Leaving behind her life in Cambodia for a boat of seven hundred smelly, hungary, sick people who could not do much more then complain was not a situation Sundara had begged to be in. Even worse, though, was that the boat had no sure course. It was just wondering aimlessly on the ocean, looking for a land that cold take it in. It and it's people, that is. Finally the boat was sent to America. People grew quite excited at the thought of going to America. They had heard so many good things of it.
But America was not quite the life they thought it would be. Everything was so different from what they knew. They had to learn the English language and many American customs. Though there were some that they just could not adjust to. It was rather easy for the younger children, Pon and Ravy, to adjust to the american ways of life. Seeing as how they hadn't spent very memorable years in Cambodia. It would be easier to adapt to a new way of life. The Cambodian Adults in the story had a much harder time adjusting to new ways and were obstinate against it. Sundara, hard as she tried, could not always keep true to her Cambodian heritage.
And Sundara does try. But some forces just have more power over others. Her will to stay true to her native customs are just hairs weaker then the overbearing power of love she feels for Jonathan. She denies anything, even to herself at first, but slowly and surely she starts taking greater risks to be with him. When she is caught by a distraught Soka, on how irresponsible she had been, she tried to divorce herself from any hope that Jonathan could be with her, and tried to focus on a more plausible future. One that accompanied the return of another man she had once barred feelings for. In the imaginative future she was forgiven by all her family for the wrong doings she had committed. While she's trying to keep an open mind to this, ignoring Jonathan is getting harder. She tries harder to ignore and then is told that her beloved Chameleon is dead. Facing this tragic truth suddenly takes a turn for the worst on how she faces with Jonathan.
Her aunt would kill her if she found out she was hanging around that American boy again. But doesn't it almost seem as if Soka is being harder then necessary? What could be the cause of that? First off before Sundara came to help her aunt her mother told Soka to take responsibility for Sundara. So Soka felt that when Sundara did something bad she was going back on what she promised Sundara's mother. Then there is the fact that Sundara is oldest and should be more reliable then her younger cousins.
Lastly Soka has stuck her head high in the air and refuses to let the fact go that Sundara had killed (probably in Soka's eyes murdered) her baby girl, for four years. When Sundara has a break down over this and the restless spirit of the child posses her body Soka realizes that this was not Sundara's fault and feels horribly guilty of the pain she must have put her niece through.
After all this Soka was able to forgive Sundara, and Sundara ready to accept forgiveness. Though the two still have a strained relationship from time to time, they are much more understanding of each other. They get along much better, and can almost see eye to eye. Now that this bridge awareness has been built between the two Sundara has a much easier time taking on her many challenges.
Sundara faced MANY challenges throughout the book and there are probably many more to come for her. From leaving her country to not being able to be with the one she loves, life has handed Sundara more lemons then glasses to be filled with her sweet lemonade. But Sundara is smart and works to find the best way to solve her problems (not work around them!). Even though Sundara has an overburdened load she is able to meet the challenges!
Letters and other Projects worked on while reading Children of the River.
This was a paragraph we were supposed to work on in Language Arts class proving that memories can't all be preserved in scrapbooks.
Sundara doesn't believe that the best memories can be saved in a scrapbook, but I think some of them can. I think that having a scrap can't bring back all the memories but they help to bring back some. One memory I have as a young child, that can't be preserved by a scrapbook is I liked to reach up as a child. Since I had always been little for my age I like to reach up and touch stuff that was out of reach. One day I was in the kitchen and my mom was going to start breakfast soon. So she turned on the stove and left the room. I was reaching up to all the counters and then the stove. I'm sure even at that young age I noticed the oven top was warmer then normal, but I continued on patting the stove. When I got to the burner that was on, well it hurt. Just a little bit. That is one memory of mine that could never be preserved in a scrapbook. (How I remember it I just don't know...)
This was a paragraph long letter of what we though Sundara might write to her family, since it mentioned in the book how scared she was for not hearing from them.
I have fled with Uncle and Younger Aunt to America. I wished to know if you are okay, for I have not heard from you for many years. Younger Aunt wished to find me a husband, but I do not want this. I feel now I am an American girl. I hope you can forgive me. But I do not wish for my husband to be chosen for me, as I feel this is deprivation. I miss you, my family, dearly, but I am learning the ways of this nation well. Uncle and Younger Aunt can always find a reason to complain. We work on a farm for money and my learning is going good. Yes, in America we have schooling till we are eighteen! I wish to know how you are doing, if you can write back please do! I am desperate to know your okay.
I love you with all my heart,
Sundara can't feel very good treated only as a burden by her aunt. This was a paragraph written after Sundara had turned eighteen (as in after the book takes place) and was ready to live life on her own (according to American custom).
I know you and Younger Aunt mean well, but you just don't understand. We are not in Cambodia and more, and no matter what you want for me, I believe I know what's better. And no matter how much you want to stick with all our customs, I now live in an free country where I decide my life. If I want to eat out, I shall eat out. If I want to hang out with friends, I shall do just that. Because, no matter what you say, I'm in charge of my life. I will direct it as I choose. I will date any guy I want to date. And maybe if I find the right one I will marry him. No one will choose my life for me. Now that I have lived here for six years, I know the American ways. Using the knowledge I have gained by watching those around me, I am ready to move on.
So that's just some stuff I wanted to share about this book. If I can get my friends to send me their assignments I'll post them as another chapter, then we'll all pitch in to write a story, we just don't have a plot. Send me your ideas please!