The Refugees

by

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Mr. P. Character Analysis

Thomas’s father in “Someone Else Besides You.” Mr. P. had served in the army in Vietnam before fleeing to the United States and had subsequently treated his children like his own personal army. He had not loved Thomas’s mother, his wife, saying instead that he respected her. Yet he had also cheated on her with many women, and after she died he began dating another woman named Mimi. He has a complicated relationship with Thomas, but he ultimately wants what is best for his son and tries to help him win his ex-wife Sam back.

Mr. P. Quotes in The Refugees

The The Refugees quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. P. or refer to Mr. P.. 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.
Someone Else Besides You Quotes

“Who says I want her back?”

“Don’t be an idiot. You were only half a man before you met her, and you’re back to being half a man now.”

Related Characters: Thomas (speaker), Mr. P. (speaker), Sam, Mimi
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

When I spoke, it was so softly that only the stranger curled up behind the belly ring could hear. Then I said it once more, louder: “I can be the father.” Feeling Sam’s hand grip my shoulder, I said it a third time, just to make sure they both heard me right.

Related Characters: Thomas (speaker), Mr. P., Sam
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Refugees LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Refugees PDF

Mr. P. Character Timeline in The Refugees

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. P. appears in The Refugees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Someone Else Besides You
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Thomas and his father ( Mr. P. ) drop by his father’s girlfriend Mimi’s condo. Thomas has never met Mimi before; when... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
...father’s car had been stolen the previous night. Mimi tries to make more conversation, but Mr. P. says Thomas has to go. (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Thomas explains that he is 33, but that Mr. P. didn’t think anyone was a man until he became a father. His father had had... (full context)
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Mr. P. walks Thomas to the door and says he’ll need a ride home the next morning,... (full context)
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
...morning, while Thomas processes refunds and listens to his service representatives, Thomas pictures Mimi and Mr. P. lounging on the couch together. She is the first of his father’s mistresses and girlfriends... (full context)
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
...a father. This was not the first time they’d had this conversation. He thought about Mr. P. , who had treated his sons like his own personal army and cheated many times.... (full context)
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
...By the time Thomas’s mother passed away, he was very familiar with loneliness, and invited Mr. P. to live with him, suspecting he might also be lonely. His father, to his surprise,... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Thomas sleeps for two hours, and then drives back to Mimi’s apartment. Mr. P. is showering, so Mimi makes Thomas a cup of coffee and he tells her a... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Mr. P. appears and he and Thomas leave soon after. In the car, Thomas’s father asks when... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Thomas questions Mr. P. , asking if he’s going to marry Mimi and then find another woman to have... (full context)
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Mr. P. says that Thomas should never have let Sam go. Thomas starts to cry. He remembers... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Thomas doesn’t know what “doing something” means; only that Mr. P. usually said it when he was going to punish his sons. It is also what... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Mr. P. had taken Thomas to the boy’s home and knocked on the door. He spoke with... (full context)
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Thomas and Mr. P. go to pick up a rental car, then to a barbershop, where Thomas gets a... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
...looking for another man. Sam and Thomas start to catch up, and Thomas explains that Mr. P. has moved in with him. Sam responds that that must be an interesting situation. (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Mr. P. compliments Sam on the house, but she says that most of the decorations are her... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
...with her and a man with sandy-blond hair, he asks if this is the father. Mr. P. excuses himself out the front door. Sam tells Thomas that a woman doesn’t need a... (full context)
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
Thomas leaves and gets in the car with Mr. P. As they pull out of the street, Thomas’s father sees Sam’s car and tells him... (full context)
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
As they argue and drive away, Mr. P. claims that Thomas wouldn’t know right from wrong because he never makes any choices. Thomas... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
At home, Mr. P. takes a pill, thinking he might have pulled a muscle in his neck, and Thomas... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
The next day, the police find Mr. P. ’s missing car. His father goes with Mimi to retrieve it from the impound lot... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
Intimacy and Isolation Theme Icon
...not been there when they’d divorced the year before. They hear a floorboard creak upstairs: Mr. P. , who has crept out of his bedroom and is wondering and waiting for what... (full context)