The Refugees

by

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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A neighbor of the boy, the boy’s mother, and the boy’s father in “War Years.” She asks people in the neighborhood, including the boy’s family, for money to support a South Vietnamese guerilla army training in Thailand who hope to fight against the North Vietnamese. Mrs. Hoa does this because her husband and son went missing during the Vietnam War, and she is haunted by the possibility of getting them back.

Mrs. Hoa Quotes in The Refugees

The The Refugees quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Hoa or refer to Mrs. Hoa. 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.
War Years Quotes

It was a trivial secret, but one I would remember as vividly as my feeling that while some people are haunted by the dead, others are haunted by the living.

Related Characters: The Boy (speaker), The Boy’s Mother, Mrs. Hoa
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

“Go buy,” she said in English, motioning me inside. Whenever she spoke in English, her voice took on a higher pitch, as if instead of coming from inside her, the language was outside, squeezing her by the throat.

Related Characters: The Boy (speaker), The Boy’s Mother (speaker), Mrs. Hoa, The boy’s father
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Refugees LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Refugees PDF

Mrs. Hoa Character Timeline in The Refugees

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Hoa appears in The Refugees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
War Years
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
As the boy works, a woman named Mrs. Hoa walks in and introduces herself. She is in her late forties and dressed in monochrome.... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
...are hard and she has no money to spare, particularly with her daughter in college. Mrs. Hoa warns that people might talk: another neighbor of theirs, Mrs. Binh, refused to give money,... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
Over the days following Mrs. Hoa ’s visit, the boy’s mother is clearly unsettled. As the boy and his mother calculate... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
The boy’s mother says that she hates the Communists as much as Mrs. Hoa , but that she refuses to throw away money on a lost cause. The family... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
...only thinks about him on Sundays, when he is on his knees. One such Sunday, Mrs. Hoa finds their family and says that she still hasn’t received a donation from them and... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Mrs. Hoa remarks on the boy, calling him handsome,  and inquiring about their daughter’s college and what... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
The boy’s mother decides to follow Mrs. Hoa home and takes the boy with her. In the car, the boy’s mother explains she... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
...his mother not remembering what she looked like as a little girl that saddens him. Mrs. Hoa arrives home, and the boy’s mother takes note of where she lives. (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
The following Wednesday, Mrs. Hoa returns to the New Saigon Market. The boy is in a wooden loft at the... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Cultural Identity and Family Theme Icon
...until the story spread through the whole community. The boy’s mother decides to drive to Mrs. Hoa ’s house with the boy to give her a piece of her mind. When they... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
When Mrs. Hoa asks what she wants, the boy’s mother notices army uniforms in her closet, prompting the... (full context)
War and the Refugee Experience Theme Icon
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
The boy’s mother takes out an envelope and hands Mrs. Hoa two hundred dollars. The boy is shocked, calculating the cans of soup, pounds of rice,... (full context)
Memory and Ghosts Theme Icon
As the boy and the boy’s mother turn to leave, Mrs. Hoa explains that the Communists don’t respect anyone, not even the dead. The boy simply says,... (full context)