Tony Pham Bone By Fae Myenne Ng Study Guild • What happens in the story? Why?

The story takes place in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown here a Chinese immigrated family struggles with death, honor, hope, and creating a gap between two worlds. Leila is the main character as she tells the story through her view. Ona was her sister who's life ended young and tragically when she committed suicide by jumping off the roof. Mah and Leon are the mother and father who struggles to repair the family honor as the entire town knows about their story. Nina is the youngest of the sisters and she manages to escape the drama that unfolds in Chinatown as becomes flight attendant in New York. Leila is left to pick up the glass of her shattered family as she stays behind in order to comfort and help her parents. She learns to move on and accept Ona's death but realized that no matter how far she wants to get away, her heart and roots remains in her home, in Chinatown. As Leila prevails also does hope as the pain of Ona's death starts to ease as Mah and Leon are able to move pass their daughter's death. • Against whom or what is the main character struggling? Why? Leila is the main character of “Bone' and she struggles the most because she is left in the middle between two worlds that she desires to escape. An eternal conflict that Leila faces is the tradition of her culture and how it interferes with what she actually wants to do with her own life. She seems to can't find the perfect balance between keeping her parents and herself happy and therefore she

struggles in accepting Chinatown as her home. Leila wants to live with her boyfriend but due to Mah and Leon's traditions she is left to ponder. The death of her sister Ona, affects everyone and Leila is left to console her parents as Nina wants nothing to do with the family. • How is suspense built into the story? How does the author reveal characters? Suspense is built into the story by creating a different time setting, flashbacks from the past, in which it occurs in almost every chapter. As Leila continues to tell the story through her point of view, something is always reminding her of this that occurred in the past. Through those events, character traits are reveled. The suspense continues as scenes from the past of Leila life replays over and over like a movie, we the reader can understand her life and feeling as if we were watching a movie. • Are there any twists in the plot? What do they add to the story? “Bone” is filled with many twists as they add emotions of heartbreak, sorrow, and sympathy to the story of a Chinese family searching for the American dream but at the same time struggles with tragedy. Ona's suicide was probably the biggest twist in the story. Leila and Mason's marriage brought conflict between Leila's desires and family traditions. Mah cheating on her husband with her boss, Leon's trip out to sea, Nina's abortion, are just a few examples of the twists that occurs throughout the novella. The twists adds a different dynamic and allows the reader to know each characters' struggles and how each individual got to where they are now. • How does the main character change from the beginning to the end? In the beginning Leila wanted to abandon her Chinese culture and be lost in

the American society but the problem was that she couldn't leave her parents behind in order to chase after her own life because she was afraid that Mah and Leon couldn't take care of themselves. As time progress Leila became more independent as her courage grew also. By the end of the story, Leila manages to honor her family traditions while at the same time create her own. • What forces or circumstances make one of the characters act in a certain way? Ona's suicide and Nina leaving the family behind forces Leila to stay back and take care of her parents. Another reason Leila stays back is because Ona and Nina left and she doesn't want to bare the guilt of being a ungrateful daughter. • Do the characters' actions seem believable within the story? The characters' actions are believable within the story because it is in human nature for people to act a certain way. A chain of cause and events happen and it kept on adding to the plot. When conflicted with a challenge, their actions define who they are. • Who is vulnerable in the story? Everyone is vulnerable from Leila, Nina, Ona, Mah, and Leon, each of of them share their own internal and external struggles. Mah and Leon doesn't understand western lifestyle and remain very tradition which conflicts with Leila because she wants to be more Americanized. Nina wants to escape it all and doesn't want to fly back to visit her family but unwillingly complies. Ona's suicide clearly impacted everyone's life in the book and they are all vulnerable. • Is the story optimistic or pessimistic? “Bone” is an optimistic story even though it may seem depressing to read at times. The story shows the harsh reality of life and more specially the challenges an

immigrant family of any race or culture faces when the find a new home. “Bone” reflects on the theme of having hope and learning to move on with life even through tragic times. With every challenge that doesn't kill you only make you stronger. •What universal situations and general values are involved? Finding one's true identity is the universal situations and general values because we are all trying to find ourselves as we all search for a peace of mind. Some live to serve others while many live to serve no one. We're all walking the same in different shoes. Some people follow their own dreams some people follow other people's dream. At the end of the day we're all just trying to be satisfied with who we are. • Who is telling the story? How much does the speaker know and tell? Leila is telling the story through her perspective. She only speaks of events that have occurred and all the information that she acquired she have either saw or heard. • How familiar are you with the cultural context? Coming from a Vietnamese traditional family I am very use to the cultural context of “Bone.” I understand what Leila went through as she struggles with trying to create her own identity and not just be a shadow of her parent's wants and traditions. I, myself have also been struggling with same conflict for years and few more years to come. My parents are much like Mah and Leon because they were immigrants also, and they have barely adjusted to American society. I know tradition and culture are important but it get repulsive when being forced upon. Maybe one day I can overcome this conflict like Leila and find my own identity.

• Does the setting effect the action? The setting does play a major factor in effecting the actions because the story takes lace in Chinatown in San Francisco's. Mah and Leon wanted to feel comfortable enough to start a new live here in America but at the same time wanted to hold onto a piece of Chinese society. • How would the story have to alter if set in a different place and/or time? The story would have a different plot but the struggles would be the same. Mah and Leon wouldn't be as comfortable and therefore they will try harder to cling onto any traditions creating more problems for Leila. The main theme of trying to establish one's self would still be the core of “Bone.” • The title. Are you able to explain the author's choice for a title? Fae Myenne Ng chose the title “Bone” in order to empathize on the traditions that are pasted on from generation to generation in order to keep their heritage and culture alive. • The end. Are you able to explain these words: The heart never travels. “The heart never travels” means that no matter how far you move, wherever you go, you heart will remain at home where your traditions, culture, name, race, family, roots, and identity are.