Girl in Translation

Vivian Character Analysis

Vivian is Matt's girlfriend and later, his wife. Kim is extremely envious of Vivian not just because she also loves Matt, but because Vivian is gorgeous, genuinely nice, and extremely charming. Her father works as a tailor and employs her when she's a teen, but Matt tells Kim when they meet as adults that Vivian was later forced to find work in a bridal shop. She and Matt have a five-year-old daughter in the epilogue and another baby on the way.

Vivian Quotes in Girl in Translation

The Girl in Translation quotes below are all either spoken by Vivian or refer to Vivian. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of Girl in Translation published in 2010.
Thirteen Quotes

When she saw us, she seemed heartbroken, her grief so complete that it left no room for anger. I thought, I never want to love someone like that, not even Matt, so much that there would be no room left for myself, so much that I wouldn't be able to survive if he left me.

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Matt, Vivian
Page Number: 267
Explanation and Analysis:
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Vivian Character Timeline in Girl in Translation

The timeline below shows where the character Vivian appears in Girl in Translation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Ten
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
One afternoon, a girl named Vivian is waiting for Matt outside the factory. She's gorgeous, kind, and perfect in every way.... (full context)
Eleven
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
...at Polytechnic University. Those classes end later in the day, so she sometimes comes across Vivian waiting for Matt when she gets to the factory. One day in the spring, Kim... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...boys scatter. Matt re-clips a lost barrette back into Kim's hair and Kim insists that Vivian tried to make the boys stop too. Matt picks up Vivian's discarded potted plant and... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...well, but Matt pulls Kim close. Suddenly, they're kissing. Kim finally pulls away, thinking of Vivian, and Matt says as he leaves that he'll never reach Kim's heights. Kim feels shattered;... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...boys at the factory. She reminds herself that despite the kiss, Matt has still chosen Vivian, not her. All of this is made worse by the fact that Kim genuinely likes... (full context)
Twelve
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...enjoys spending time with Curt, as he makes it easier to bear seeing Matt with Vivian. One fall day, Curt asks Kim why she doesn't love him. She insists that everyone's... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...take care of them, and tells Kim he misses her. Kim reminds him he has Vivian. (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Matt talks about having to care for Park and admits that he's never even told Vivian that his father is alive. Matt admits that the moment Mrs. Wu died, he knew... (full context)
Thirteen
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Haltingly, Matt says that when he was out with Vivian, he'd sometimes see Kim's face in front of him. He chose Vivian because she needed... (full context)
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Chinese drink, not one that's been altered for American tastes. Once, Kim catches sight of Vivian in a flower shop. She's amazed to see that Vivian's sadness seems to make her... (full context)
Epilogue
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Kim asks after Park and Vivian. Matt explains that he and Park are working at UPS, while Vivian started work in... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Kim opens her mouth to say something, but Matt interrupts and says that Vivian is pregnant again. Kim starts to sob, and Matt holds her. She thinks that she's... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...decision. When they break apart, Matt gives Kim the necklace and says that he'll tell Vivian he lost it. (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...Matt step out onto the fire escape and notes all the plants. Kim thinks that Vivian should have her garden; thanks to Ma, it's filled with so much produce, Ma constantly... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...feels better. She thinks she could even be glad she gave Matt his happiness with Vivian. As she parks and starts up the walkway, her twelve-year-old son, Jason, barrels out the... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...could make it work with Matt, but when she learned that he'd gone back to Vivian, she decided to accept that she'd never have been able to make Matt happy. (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Kim thinks that she gave Matt his life with Vivian and his children, though she took away his life with her and Jason. She recognizes... (full context)