First They Killed My Father

Chong Character Analysis

A woman in Ro Leap whose husband is murdered by the Khmer Rouge. When her two-year-old son then dies of starvation. she carries his dead body around for days, until the village chief forces her to bury him. Just a few days later, her young daughters, desperate for food, accidentally eat poisonous mushrooms and suffer painful deaths in front of Chong. Having lost any sense of grounding. Chong becomes known as the village “crazy lady” and walks around talking to her children as if they are still alive. At one point she gives Ma a bowl of earthworms to eat, saying if only she had thought to eat them sooner her daughters would still be alive. She eventually dies from food poisoning, just like her daughters.
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Chong Character Timeline in First They Killed My Father

The timeline below shows where the character Chong appears in First They Killed My Father. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11: New Year’s, April 1976
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...Loung has grown numb to watching people dispose of bodies in communal graves. Her neighbor Chong’s husband was killed by the Khmer Rouge, and her two-year-old son then died of starvation.... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...fat, brilliant soldier with “kind eyes”; Loung wonders if those eyes can see them starving. Chong becomes known as the village “crazy lady” and eventually dies from poisonous food like her... (full context)