Inside Out and Back Again

by

Thanhhà Lai

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Brother Quang Character Analysis

Brother Quang, ’s oldest brother, is a 21-year-old engineering student in Saigon. Since he began attending college, Brother Quang has gotten increasingly pretentious. He’s very proud of being South Vietnamese, so he initially opposes leaving the country, believing that it’s his and his family’s duty as South Vietnamese citizens to stay and help build the country they want to see. But ultimately, he agrees to flee with the rest of the family, though he continues to say things that suggests he’s ashamed of this choice. In Florida, the cowboy selects Brother Quang to sponsor and train as an auto mechanic, which results in the family moving to Alabama. As the only family member who speaks English, Brother Quang does a lot of translating and tries to teach Hà English. When Brother Quang finally begins work, he’s often angry, though Hà never understands exactly why. He becomes happier when he’s finally able to repair a car that nobody else could and receives a promotion at work. At the end of the novel, the cowboy gives Brother Quang tuition so he can resume his engineering education at a night college.

Brother Quang Quotes in Inside Out and Back Again

The Inside Out and Back Again quotes below are all either spoken by Brother Quang or refer to Brother Quang. 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:
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
).
Part 2: At Sea Quotes

I have never seen her
without this purple rock.
I can’t fall asleep
unless I twist the ring
and count circles.

Brother Quang says,
NO!
What’s the point of
new shirts and sandals
if you lose the last
tangible remnant of love?

I don’t understand
what he said
but I agree.

Related Characters: Kim Hà (speaker), Brother Quang (speaker), Mother, Father
Related Symbols: The Amethyst Ring
Page Number: 103-04
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Alabama Quotes

No, Mr. Johnston
doesn’t have a horse,
nor has he ever ridden one.

What kind of a cowboy is he?

To make it worse,
the cowboy explains
horses here go
neigh, neigh, neigh,
not hee, hee, hee.

No they don’t.

Where am I?

Related Characters: Brother Quang (speaker), Kim Hà (speaker), The Cowboy
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Inside Out and Back Again LitChart as a printable PDF.
Inside Out and Back Again PDF

Brother Quang Character Timeline in Inside Out and Back Again

The timeline below shows where the character Brother Quang appears in Inside Out and Back Again. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Saigon
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Kim Hà. The narrator introduces herself as Hà. Brother Quang remembers that the first time he saw Hà, she was red and fat like a... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
...fist-sized baby papaya on the trunk. He’s 18 and can see higher than Brother Khôi. Brother Quang is the oldest at 21; he’s studying engineering. He’ll no doubt see something important before... (full context)
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...He loved stewed eels and his children—so much that he’d cry watching them sleep. Sometimes, Brother Quang tells Hà about how Father would say “Tuyet sút,” the Vietnamese way to say “toute... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
TV News. Brother Quang hurries home on his bike (he can’t afford gas for his moped anymore) and angrily... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
...the country or have a van ready to leave. She asks if they should go. Brother Quang insists they must stay to help rebuild the country, and Brother Khôi asks what will... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...Behind. Mother leaves behind a set of 10 gold-rimmed glasses Father brought back from America, Brother Quang ’s report cards, and blooming bougainvillea and jasmine vines. They leave behind the cowboy belt... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
...Vū guides Mother in front of him, lifts Hà onto his shoulders, and then presses Brother Quang and Brother Khôi forward. Hà decides she’ll never make fun of Bruce Lee again. (full context)
Part 2: At Sea
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Routine. Mother won’t allow children to be idle. After a week at sea, Brother Quang starts teaching English lessons. Hà wishes he’d stick to simple, useful phrases, but when there’s... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
...Khôi’s hand is the flat chick, its neck dangling. Brother Khôi screams and kicks as Brother Quang carries him above deck. (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
...board. Hà touches the fuzz and then plucks a hair. Mother slaps Hà’s hand, and Brother Quang says something fast in another language, but the fuzzy man laughs. The rocking boat means... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...City. Hà and the other passengers are now on an island called Guam. Nobody except Brother Quang can pronounce the island’s name. There were lots of people here before Hà and her... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
...day, camp workers teach English. People have evenings to themselves. They show movies outdoors, and Brother Quang translates for viewers. People love watching Clint Eastwood cowboy movies, but if the main cowboy... (full context)
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...she has to twirl it around Mother’s finger every night in order to fall asleep. Brother Quang refuses to sell it—there’s no point in new shirts or sandals if Mother “loses the... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...As Hà watches neighboring families leave for Georgia and South Carolina, Mother grows anxious and Brother Quang picks at his skin. Hà doesn’t mind it here. She finally has long hair, and... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
...sells cars and wants to train a young man as a mechanic. The man picks Brother Quang , as he’s impressed with Brother Quang’s engineering education. Mother doesn’t care—soon, the entire family... (full context)
Part 3: Alabama
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
First Rule. According to Brother Quang , you must add an s to a noun if you’re talking about multiple things—even... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...bucket. Brother Khôi draws back, and the cowboy bites into a leg and smiles. Hà, Brother Quang , and Brother Vū try pieces. The skin is crunchy, salty, and spicy—but Mother spits... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
...house on Princess Anne Road and pays three months’ rent. Mother can’t believe it, but Brother Quang explains that the government gives sponsors money for this. Mother is shocked by the government’s... (full context)
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
...two deer. Hà asks why deer doesn’t get an s but monkey does. According to Brother Quang , nobody knows. Hà thinks that a snake should bite whoever invented English. (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
...to move quickly. Put together, the sentence reads that something “eyeballs stain move.” Hà asks Brother Quang for help. He explains that Jane is a name, and Spot is a dog’s name.... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
Neigh Not Hee. Since Brother Quang is tired of translating, the cowboy takes Hà to register for school. Hà figures he’ll... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
...cowboy shakes his head, so Hà gallops and says “Hee, hee, hee,” again. At home, Brother Quang translates: Mr. Johnson doesn’t have a horse and has never ridden one. Hà is incredulous;... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
...is going to leave the house. Mother will start work sewing at a factory, and Brother Quang will repair cars. Everyone else will go to school and repeat their last unfinished grade.... (full context)
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
...gets home later with two of her fingers bandaged—the electric machines sew very fast. When Brother Quang gets home, he throws down his shirt and showers. His nails are still edged in... (full context)
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
...he goes through every day, that Mother would stop hiding her bloody fingers, and that Brother Quang wasn’t so angry after work. She wishes the cowboy would buy a horse. Hà wishes... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
...when someone throws a brick with a note tied around it through the front window, Brother Quang refuses to translate the note. The cowboy calls the police as Vu Lee “pops” his... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
...the woman next to him slams her door. As more people don’t open their doors, Brother Quang , Vu Lee, and Brother Khôi’s faces turn red. But when the cowboy leads them... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...house. All Vu Lee’s students wear yellow, and some wear suits like Bruce Lee wears. Brother Quang and Brother Khôi join in, and once, Hà spots Mother smiling from inside. (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Bullying, Racism, and Self-Doubt Theme Icon
...house—MiSSSisss WaSShington told him about the pancake incident. Now, the cowboy, MiSSSisss WaSShington, Mother, and Brother Quang are going to school with Hà, which just makes Hà nervous. They enter the principal’s... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Brother Quang ’s Turn. A few days later, Brother Quang comes home extremely happy because he repaired... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
NOW! Hà accompanies Mother and Brother Quang to the grocery store, where Mother buys ingredients for egg rolls. An American holiday is... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...embarrass their hosts, but they bring early Christmas gifts anyway. The cowboy gives Mother catfish, Brother Quang money to attend night college, Vu Lee jerky, Brother Khoi two fighting fish, and Hà... (full context)
Part 4: From Now On
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
What If. Brother Quang wonders if Father escaped to Cambodia. Perhaps he’s building an army and will go back... (full context)
Family and Grief Theme Icon
...clenched and her face is ashy—and the amethyst ring is gone from her left hand. Brother Quang drives everyone back to the factory so they can all help Mother look around the... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
An Engineer, a Chef, a Vet, and Not a Lawyer. Now, Brother Quang is in night school to study engineering, which makes Mother smile. Vu Lee is refusing... (full context)
Immigration, Culture Shock, and Belonging Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...all wear new clothes, including underwear, and they don’t splash water or pout. Mother asks Brother Quang to bless the house after midnight, so Hà can’t touch the ground first in the... (full context)
War, Childhood, and Maturity Theme Icon
Family and Grief Theme Icon
Culture, Food, and Tradition Theme Icon
...stick and waits for the gong to sound. Hà prays for Father and for Mother, Brother Quang , Vu Lee, and Brother Khôi to be happy and successful. When she opens her... (full context)