The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer

by

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Dr. Richard Hedd Character Analysis

An English scholar of Asian Studies and the author of Asian Communism and the Oriental Mode of Destruction: On Understanding and Defeating the Marxist Threat to Asia. The book is well-regarded by former secretaries of defense, a U.S. senator, and a renowned television anchor. Hedd is the narrator’s idol. They later meet at a dinner at a country club in Anaheim organized by the Congressman.

Dr. Richard Hedd Quotes in The Sympathizer

The The Sympathizer quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Richard Hedd or refer to Dr. Richard Hedd. 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:
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Sympathizer published in 2016.
Chapter 15 Quotes

As a nonwhite person, the General, like myself, knew he must be patient with white people, who were easily scared by the nonwhite. Even with liberal white people, one could go only so far, and with average white people one could barely go anywhere. The General was deeply familiar with the nature, nuances, and internal differences of white people, as was every nonwhite person who had lived here a good number of years. We ate their food, we watched their movies, we observed their lives and psyche via television and in everyday contact, we learned their language, we absorbed their subtle cues, we laughed at their jokes, even when made at our expense, we humbly accepted their condescension, we eavesdropped on their conversations in supermarkets and the dentist's office, and we protected them by not speaking our own language in their presence, which unnerved them.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The General, The Congressman, Dr. Richard Hedd
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dr. Richard Hedd Character Timeline in The Sympathizer

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Richard Hedd appears in The Sympathizer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
The narrator goes home and watches Bon clean and oil the .38 Special. They watch Dr. Richard Hedd being interviewed on television about Cambodia. The narrator asks, what if the major isn’t a... (full context)
Chapter 15
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
...to greet the General and the narrator. There are six others at the table, including Dr. Richard Hedd . There are seats reserved for the narrator and the General on either side of... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
Dr. Hedd hands the book back to the narrator and regards the younger man intently. Dr. Hedd... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
Dr. Hedd asks the narrator if he’s happy. The narrator says that he’s not unhappy, then he... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
...speech, which is really a call to rally the support of South Vietnam’s old allies, Dr. Hedd interrupts him. The General, a man not accustomed to being interrupted, merely smiles. Dr. Hedd... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
...overlooked this insecurity, they “could have exerted overwhelming force,” showing that they deserved to win. Dr. Hedd offers to speak “the unpalatable truth” about why America lost. He says that the generals... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
When the Congressman asks the narrator what he thinks, he says that he disagrees with Dr. Hedd . Life is valuable to Asians, but it’s invaluable to  Westerners. Dr. Hedd raises his... (full context)