In “The Transplant,” Arthur’s liver transplant represents the opportunity for a better life. Before Arthur’s liver starts to fail, Arthur loses his house, his wife Norma, and his part of his father’s business because of his gambling addiction. When he receives his new liver from Men Vu, he strives to become a better person and husband. He tries to find a way to repay a member of Men’s family, which he does by befriending Louis Vu, whom he believes is Men’s son. However, over the course of the story, the liver transplant becomes a lost opportunity, as Arthur quickly falls back into old habits. He once again becomes self-centered and returns to his gambling addiction. This lost opportunity is particularly evident when Arthur takes his first drink after his transplant, and his liver begins to pain him once more, demonstrating how he has come full circle after his diagnosis to the person he had been before.
Liver Quotes in The Refugees
Arthur, hovering in the corner, sensed that he was merely a specter, already dead, acknowledged by Norma only as she brushed by him on her way out the door, saying over her shoulder, “Don’t forget your pills.”
“You’re my friend,” Louis replied.
Arthur interpreted the statement to mean that he was Louis’s only friend, for Louis never mentioned anyone else. “You’re my friend, too,” Arthur said, putting as much feeling as he could into his words. For a moment, the two of them maintained eye contact and smiled at each other.