“Saving Sourdi” by May-Lee Chai is a short story about the bond between two sisters. The story follows Nea, the younger sister, as she tries to protect her older sister, Sourdi, from their abusive father.
Nea does everything she can to keep Sourdi safe, but when their father finally catches up to them, Nea is forced to make a difficult decision. She can either stay and fight or run away and try to save herself. In the end, Nea chooses to save herself, and she leaves her sister behind.
Although “Saving Sourdi” is a work of fiction, it provides an insightful look into the reality of abuse and its effects on the people involved. May-Lee Chai does an excellent job of portraying the emotional toll that abuse can take on a family. This story is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject.
May-lee Chai is an author and instructor who has received various awards, such as the 2014 APALA (Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association) Literature Award in the Young Adult category for Tiger Girl, Kiriyama Prize 2008 Notable Book for Hapa Girl: A Memoir, Honorable Mention for the 2007 Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Award for Hapa Girl: A Memoir, and a designation for the National Book Award in autobiography for The Girl from Purple Mountain.
“Saving Sourdi” is a short story about how Nea, the youthful narrator, tries to save her more seasoned sister, Sourdi, from an awful life of prostitution. The tale happens in Council Bluffs, Iowa in the 1980s. From the beginning, it is clear that the sisters have an extraordinary bond. They are as one against their dad’s brutality and their mom’s absence. When they grow up and leave home, they remain close. Nea watches out for Sourdi as though she were her own particular youngster.
When Sourdi meets a man named Michah who seems like he will be a decent provider, Nea starts to feel that her responsibilities may soon end. Tragically, it turns out that Michah is a drunkard and a cheat. He physically mishandles Sourdi, and she turns into a shell of the dynamic young lady Nea used to know. In spite of the fact that Michah is the one who has changed Sourdi, Nea feels as though she is the one who needs to save her sister.
Nea’s love for her sister knows no bounds, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to help Sourdi escape Michah’s clutches. Nea hatches a plan to kill Michah, but things do not go as planned. In the end, Nea learns that there are some things even she cannot control.
“Saving Sourdi” is a heart-wrenching story of sisterly love and the lengths to which one person will go to save someone they love. May-lee Chai’s writing is beautiful, and the characters are incredibly well-developed. This is a must-read for anyone who loves short stories.
May-Lee Chai’s “Saving Sourdi” is a grim tale of cultural disconnection that many native-born American citizens may not be aware of: the strain that emigration can have on a family. The narrative is told from Nea, the youngest daughter, who readers come to understand is impulsive and cares only for her older sister Sourdi.
Nea does not have much respect for her mother, and the feeling is mutual. The story focuses on the relationship between the two sisters and how it changes when Sourdi gets married and leaves Nea behind.
The story opens with Nea getting into a fight with another girl at school. This fight is representative of Nea’s general attitude; she is quick to anger and does not back down from a challenge. When she gets home, her mother scolds her and tells her that she needs to be more like her sister. Sourdi is the opposite of Nea; she is calm and level-headed, always thinking before she acts. She is also very beautiful, which has led to many men pursuing her. However, Sourdi is not interested in any of them.
One day, a man named Mr. Chhay comes to the sisters’ home and asks for Sourdi’s hand in marriage. Sourdi is hesitant, but her mother pushes her to accept. Nea is against the idea, but she eventually comes around when she realizes that Sourdi will be able to have a better life with Mr. Chhay.
The story takes a turn when Mr. Chhay turns out to be abusive towards Sourdi. Nea does her best to protect her sister, but she is powerless to stop the abuse. Eventually, Sourdi decides to leave Mr. Chhay and return home. This decision leads to tragedy, as Mr. Chhay tracks Sourdi down and kills her.
Nea is left to deal with the aftermath of her sister’s death. She is filled with rage and regret, and she blames herself for not being able to save Sourdi. The story ends with Nea vowing to never let anything bad happen to her sister again, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness.
“Saving Sourdi” is a powerful story that highlights the importance of family. It also shows how the American dream can turn into a nightmare for those who are not prepared for the challenges that come with it. May-Lee Chai does an excellent job of telling a moving and thought-provoking story.
The tensions between Sourdi and the family become especially high as she gets older and is set up for an arranged marriage with an older man directly after graduating high school. Although, it’s possible that this conflict being expressed by Nea is highly influenced by her own individual biases and thoughts, rather than actual events.
When Sourdi is finally married off, Nea does all that she can to save her sister – even going so far as to quitting school and working two jobs. But, in the end, it’s all for naught as Sourdi returns to Cambodia with her new husband.
“Saving Sourdi” is a heart-wrenching story of familial love and sacrifice, but also one that offers a unique perspective on the immigrant experience in America. May-Lee Chai expertly weaves together elements of both tragedy and hope, giving readers a complex and nuanced view of the immigrant experience.