The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer


Viet Thanh Nguyen

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The Narrator’s Father Character Analysis

A French priest who employed the narrator’s mother as a maid when she was thirteen. He teaches her how to read Scripture and count in French, and he regales her with stories about life in France. He never acknowledges the narrator as his son, though he does notify him about his mother’s death. The narrator’s father dies in 1968, soon after the narrator returns to Vietnam from California. He is shot in the head while listening to his assassin’s confession at his church.
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The Narrator’s Father Character Timeline in The Sympathizer

The timeline below shows where the character The Narrator’s Father appears in The Sympathizer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
...the last time before departing for Occidental College. He then received a letter from his father in his junior year, telling him that she was dead at thirty-four from tuberculosis. The... (full context)
Chapter 12
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
...only advantage that the narrator thinks he has over the twins is having had a father who taught him about guilt. The question around Original Sin is important to the narrator... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
...that she, too, was weeping. She asked him if he wanted to know who his father was. He nodded yes, then she said his name. She talked about the narrator’s father—the... (full context)
Chapter 16
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
...everyone fantasizes about killing people. The narrator also says that he’s fantasized about killing his father. He tells Lana that his father was a priest. Her shocked reaction reminds the narrator... (full context)
Chapter 19
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
...Commandant talks about the narrator’s origins and describes the relations between the narrator’s mother and father as his curse. The Commandant shows him a jar containing a naked, pickled baby with... (full context)
Chapter 22
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...the Commandant is willing to let the narrator go for admitting that he wanted his father dead. Man gets up, raises his hand in farewell, and exits the room. (full context)