Nea: Saving Sourdi Character Analysis

1358 words 6 pages
Alida Lamagna
Literature and Composition
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
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During the story, Chai paints a picture of two extremely close sisters who have been put to the test. The pair has been relocated, put to work, and expected to mature quickly in their harsh new world. Nea is the narrator of the story, and she shares: ”We used to say that we’d run away, Sourdi and me.” (72) The sisters would whisper their secrets back and forth at night, and lock themselves in the bathroom together and hide away together. As children the girls were inseparable but soon the age difference comes between them. Sourdi finds comforts in her first romance with a dishwasher, Duke, and slowly but surely Nea is left by the wayside. This distance is increased when Mr. Chhay is introduced and Nea quickly realizes that her sister is being severed from her life: “It was the beginning of the end. I should have fought harder then. I should have stabbed this man, too.” (75) In America, everyone is supposed to be equal. People are supposed to be able to have the “American Dream” and have a successful career as well as support a family without any trouble despite race, age, gender, or any other factors. In Ma and Sourdi’s eyes, however, they have seen their traditional culture and are still tied to those beliefs instead. Nea is much more Americanized