First They Killed My Father

Kim Character Analysis

Another of Loung’s brothers, Kim is ten years old at the beginning of the story. His name means “gold” in Chinese, though Ma calls him “little monkey” because he is so agile and small. Loung initially finds his antics annoying, reflecting that it must be an older brother’s duty to irritate his sisters. Kim takes great pride in helping his family under the Khmer Rouge, however. Pa helps him secures work with the village chief of Ro Leap, a position that allows Kim to obtain leftover food that saves his parents and siblings from starvation. Kim also knows more about the political situation in Cambodia than Loung and often explains things to her, such as the concept of capitalism. Before Pa is taken away by soldiers, he tells Kim that he must become the man of the house despite being only twelve years old. Though Kim is terrified, he takes this duty seriously and steals corn from the village field to again fend off starvation for his family. One night he is caught by soldiers, who beat him brutally. He never steals again, and Loung reflects that though Kim must act like the man of the house, he is still only a little boy. When the Vietnamese defeat the Khmer Rouge, Kim finds both Chou and Loung and takes the lead on their journey to the displacement camp in Pursat City. There, he continues to do whatever he can to provide for his sisters, causing Loung to reflect upon how mature he has become over the years. Kim eventually makes it to a Thai refugee camp in 1988, though changing American refugee laws mean Meng is only able to get his brother Kim as far as France.
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Kim Character Timeline in First They Killed My Father

The timeline below shows where the character Kim 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
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...kidnap government officials’ daughters, and so he has a policeman follow Keav wherever she goes. Kim, another brother, is ten and nicknamed “little monkey” for being small and agile. Chou is... (full context)
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...than others; a maid does the cooking and cleaning. Loung attends school with Chou and Kim six days a week and does homework on Sundays. Pa insists that the way to... (full context)
Chapter 3: Takeover, April 17, 1975
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...and then walks toward the family Mazda—a car that signals that they are middle class. Kim picks Loung up and instead plops her in the back of Pa’s rundown pickup truck,... (full context)
Chapter 5: Seven-Day Walk, April 1975
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...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. After dinner... (full context)
Chapter 6: Krang Truop, April 1975
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...with a dirt floor. With his own children, seventeen people are staying under one roof. Kim scolds Loung for being snobbish about their new living arrangements, saying Uncle Leang was brave... (full context)
Chapter 7: Waiting Station, July 1975
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...them to Battambang as they were supposed to, but Pa says that they cannot argue. Kim tells Loung she must look after herself and not trust anyone anymore. He says it... (full context)
Chapter 8: Anlungthmor, July 1975
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...a fever the second night and hallucinates that ghosts and monsters coming to kill her; Kim and Chou also get sick and have the same nightmares. Pa says they must be... (full context)
Chapter 9: Ro Leap, November 1975
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...Khmer Rouge because they have not been “corrupted by the West” and supported the revolution. Kim explains to Loung that a capitalist is someone from the city, and that the Khmer... (full context)
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...the communal dinner of rice and fish, but they are still hungry. Pa arranges for Kim to work as an errand boy at the chief’s house. The chief’s “boys” take a... (full context)
Chapter 10: Ro Labor Camps, January 1976
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...is gone from her life.” Pa says it is good that the family is separated; Kim later explains to Loung that if the Khmer Rouge ever discover that Pa worked for... (full context)
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...the terror. Loung is frightened of dying, having begun to realize death’s permanence. One evening Kim returns from the chief’s house and tearfully tells the family that the chief told him... (full context)
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Kim explains that the Angkar borrowed money from China for weapons and supplies, and now the... (full context)
Chapter 11: New Year’s, April 1976
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...Leang’s village, and plans to use this to trade—even though bartering is considered treason. Meanwhile Kim says more people are talking about Pol Pot as the leader of the Angkar, though... (full context)
Chapter 13: Pa, December 1976
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...the morning, but before he leaves Pa says goodbye to all his children and tells Kim to look after the household. (full context)
Chapter 14: Ma’s Little Monkey, April 1977
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Another New Year’s has passed, making Loung seven, Geak five, Chou ten, and Kim twelve. In keeping with Pa’s request, Kim acts as the head of the household. Ma... (full context)
Chapter 15: Leaving Home, May 1977
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The famine has ended, but the Angkar seems to sporadically increase and decrease food rations. Kim believes it is because they send more rice to China in exchange for weapons when... (full context)
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Entire families begin to disappear overnight. Kim says the Khmer Rouge are killing even the children of the people they’ve already executed,... (full context)
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...walks. She thinks Ma is weak, reflecting that the Angkar calls women “weak and dispensable.” Kim leaves them “without words of goodbye or good luck” and Loung wonders if she will... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Last Gathering, May 1978
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...to her and thinks she has gone crazy until she sees that Ma, Geak, Chou, Kim, and Meng are, in fact, all really there; it is the only infirmary for miles... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Youn Invasion, January 1979
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Suddenly Kim grabs Loung’s shoulder. He is with Chou, having run to her camp when the explosions... (full context)
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Neither Kim nor Chou mention Ma and Geak, so Loung assumes they know they are dead. Kim... (full context)
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...are on their own now. The siblings set up camp with a group of orphans. Kim rations rice and fishes each day in the nearby river, but soon the camp become... (full context)
Chapter 21: The First Foster Family, January 1979
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...that the girls will help care for his three young daughters and elderly mother, while Kim will help him fish and hunt. Loung understands that this is only “a family of... (full context)
Chapter 23: Khmer Rouge Attack, February 1979
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...creating a gruesome scene of blood and bits of brain matter. Panicked, Loung runs with Kim and Chou out of the shelter. Realizing Kim has left the backpack with their things,... (full context)
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When Kim goes to the Youn camp to work each day he asks if anyone has heard... (full context)
Chapter 25: Back to Bat Deng, April 1979
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...soon they see Uncle Leang driving toward them on his bicycle. He gives Chou and Kim sweet rice cakes. He does not recognize Loung at first. (full context)
Epilogue
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Khouy, Kim, and Chou stayed in Bat Deng. Chou married at eighteen and bore five children. Khouy... (full context)