First They Killed My Father

Khouy Character Analysis

Loung’s second oldest sibling (who is sixteen when the memoir begins), Khouy’s hobbies in Phnom Penh including riding his motorcycle, karate, and flirting with girls. Loung asserts that while Khouy thinks he is cool, he is just mean—at least in her eyes. After the takeover, however, Khouy becomes a more protective figure—for example, shielding Loung from seeing dead bodies on the march out of Phnom Penh. Five-foot-seven with a black belt in karate, Khouy is perhaps the family member best prepared to withstand physical labor under the Khmer Rouge. In the village of Ro Leap Ma and Pa force Khouy to marry Laine, against both parties’ wishes, in an effort to prevent his being conscripted into the Khmer Rouge army. He and Laine are then sent to a labor camp together, along with Meng. During his visits back to Ro Leap, Loung observes that Khouy has lost the confident swagger he possessed in Phnom Penh and has aged well before his time. He and Meng are able to visit less and less, until more than a year goes by without Loung seeing her brothers. They are eventually reunited in the Vietnamese displaced peoples camp, where Khouy tousles Loung’s hair the way Pa used to do. Laine is not with him, having run off to find her own family after being liberated. Khuoy remains in Cambodia after Meng and Loung leave, eventually becoming a village police captain and having six children.
Get the entire First They Killed My Father LitChart as a printable PDF.
First they killed my father.pdf.medium

Khouy Character Timeline in First They Killed My Father

The timeline below shows where the character Khouy appears in First They Killed My Father. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Ung Family, April 1975
Women’s Treatment in Times of War Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...class and plans to go to France to earn his degree before marrying his girlfriend. Khouy, another brother, is sixteen. He rides a motorcycle, likes karate and girls, and is strict... (full context)
Chapter 3: Takeover, April 17, 1975
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...her to eat because they have a long journey ahead. Loung reluctantly does so under Khouy’s watchful eye. Upon Ma’s instructions, Loung changes her clothes, and then walks toward the family... (full context)
Chapter 4: Evacuation, April 1975
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...the country into a “green paradise,” but April is the hottest month of the year. Khouy wraps a scarf around Loung’s head and tells her not to look over the truck’s... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...hospitals. They were not allowed to go home first, and many families have been separated. Khouy says many old and sick people did not survive the journey, and Loung understands why... (full context)
Chapter 5: Seven-Day Walk, April 1975
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
Khouy and Meng enter a temple to fetch water from its well, but a soldier is... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...become ill from heatstroke and dehydration but are forced to keep moving. That night Meng, Khouy, and Kim forage for food and return with some brown sugar, much to Loung’s delight.... (full context)
Chapter 7: Waiting Station, July 1975
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
...and uncomfortable. When they finally stop that evening, everyone jumps out to stretch. Loung watches Khouy, who has a black belt in karate, do so, and remembers how much she liked... (full context)
Chapter 8: Anlungthmor, July 1975
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
...the village and are often moved from place to place by the Khmer Rouge. Pa, Khouy, and Meng must do manual labor every day. Food becomes increasingly scarce, and they catch... (full context)
Chapter 10: Ro Labor Camps, January 1976
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
Women’s Treatment in Times of War Theme Icon
Ma and Pa force Khouy to marry a girl from a nearby village, Laine, to decrease the likelihood of his... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
Laine and Khouy are married and sent to a labor camp. The soldiers also force Meng to go... (full context)
Chapter 13: Pa, December 1976
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...But weeks pass, and he never returns. The family continues to depend on Meng and Khouy to bring them extra food, but Khouy gets sick and Meng is kept too busy... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Last Gathering, May 1978
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...is similar to her and Chou’s, and also has propaganda meetings. Meng still lives with Khouy and his wife Laine, though no one asks about her, having learned that under the... (full context)
Chapter 23: Khmer Rouge Attack, February 1979
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...camp to work each day he asks if anyone has heard anything about Meng or Khouy. One day he returns with Meng beside him, who takes the three younger siblings away... (full context)
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
That night Meng and Khouy tell their story. When the Youn invasion happened, they were in a labor camp. Unable... (full context)
Chapter 25: Back to Bat Deng, April 1979
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
Women’s Treatment in Times of War Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
...things and leave the displacement camp. Two women who have been staying with Meng and Khouy for safety join them. Looking back at Pursat, Loung notes how normal the mountains look... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
After eighteen days of walking they near Bat Deng. Meng and Khouy ask people they meet on the road to give word to their uncles, and soon... (full context)
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
Back at Uncle Leang’s hunt, Aunt Leang gives them new clothes. Khouy and Meng tell their aunt and uncle, who were considered base people in their village,... (full context)
Epilogue
The Price of Survival  Theme Icon
Genocide, Racism, and Propaganda Theme Icon
The Unbreakable Bonds of Family Theme Icon
Khouy, Kim, and Chou stayed in Bat Deng. Chou married at eighteen and bore five children.... (full context)