The Refugees

by

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Claire Character Analysis

Carver and Michiko’s daughter in “The Americans.” As the daughter of an African-American man and a Japanese woman, growing up Claire never felt at home in America, as peers and strangers alike would ask about her ethnicity. Claire now lives in Vietnam and teaches English, and says she feels much more at home there, much to Carver’s dismay. Carver views Claire’s actions as simply a rebellion against him and his American culture, as she never agreed with his involvement in the war and he feels that her choice to move to Vietnam is similar to other rebellious decisions that she’s made that he considers stupid. Claire provides a different kind of example of a young character that rebels against the culture of her family—in contrast to several of the Vietnamese characters who rebel against their Vietnamese culture in favor of American culture.

Claire Quotes in The Refugees

The The Refugees quotes below are all either spoken by Claire or refer to Claire. 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 and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Refugees published in 2017.
The Americans Quotes

“You’re not a native,” Carver said. “You’re an American.”

“That’s a problem I’m trying to correct.”

Related Characters: James Carver (speaker), Claire (speaker), Michiko
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

The taller one’s prosthetic arm was joined with the human part at the elbow, while the other’s prosthetic leg extended to mid-thigh. Carver nicknamed the tall one Tom and the shorter one Jerry, the same names he and his U-Tapao roommate, a Swede from Minnesota, had bestowed on their houseboys.

Related Characters: James Carver, Claire, Khoi Legaspi, Michiko
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Refugees LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Refugees PDF

Claire Character Timeline in The Refugees

The timeline below shows where the character Claire appears in The Refugees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Americans
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
James Carver and his wife Michiko take a trip to Vietnam to see their daughter Claire. James hadn’t wanted to return to the country—he knew nothing about it except what it... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
...visited a war museum in Saigon and he didn’t want to see any more horrors. Claire responds that he’ll get to see the future of de-mining. They bicker over the merits... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
...becoming stupider in old age. He feels as though he hasn’t been this slow since Claire and his son William were newborns. He dates the beginning of his decline to six... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
The next morning, Carver and Michiko take a van to Quang Tri, where Claire lives and where Legaspi’s de-mining operation is based. Claire’s apartment is not what they’re used... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Carver, Michiko and Claire go to a café beneath her apartment. Children giggle and stare at them. Claire says... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Carver remembers Claire coming home as a teenager, sobbing at a comment from a peer or stranger that... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Carver responds that that’s the stupidest thing he’s heard. Claire gets upset, saying that he’s said that about all of her big decisions, like leaving... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Michiko tries to calm the situation, taking Claire shopping. This forces Carver to find something to do alone. He passes the time by... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Carver, Michiko, and Claire set out for the de-mining site the following day with Legaspi. As they tour through... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Legaspi plays jazz on the radio, having been informed by Claire that Carver loves jazz. Of all the places Carver has travelled, he liked France and... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
...put a landmine on the robot and then send it into tunnels to kill terrorists. Claire tries to defend Legaspi’s work, and says that he’s trying to make up for the... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
...explode, but he could see the results of what others had done. He thinks that Claire didn’t understand the need for striking the enemy in order to protect Americans. This had... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Carver wakes up and sees Claire. She gives him water and tells him he’s been here for three days. He has... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Carver realizes that Claire has been sleeping on a bamboo mat near his bed for three days. Carver starts... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
A few years after that, when Claire was barely potty-trained, she would wake up and jump onto Carver’s chest, demanding to be... (full context)