RAIN MUSIC
Longhang Nguyen

Fern J. Jacoby
Far Rockaway High School
Far Rockaway, New York

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Longhang Nguyen emigrated to the United States from Vietnam with her sister and father in 1979. Two years later, her mother rejoined the family. During those two years, not only did her father care for his children, but he also attended school to reobtain his veterinary license.
The following story describes the complexity of emotions that constitute love, It also emphasizes the role that ones cultural background plays when choices are made concerning love. Before reading the story, students might consider creating a personal mosaic, labeling the tiles with the various aspects of love that are part, or will be part, of their own lives.

AIM: How does our cultural background affect our decisions about love?

  1. Just be looking at the first paragraph, how would you describe the relationship between the two sisters?
  2. What does the author mean when in paragraph two, she calls her sister, "the red rose of the family," and herself," the green thorn?'
  3. What else is there about the sister that makes their parents so proud of her? Do you see anything wrong with this sense of pride? Explain.
  4. Why do you think Linh's parents would not approve of David?
  5. How do you think the narrator feels about Linh's relationship with David?
  6. Why does Linh believe that skin pigment is going to keep them apart?
  7. Although Linh says that "pigments" keep David and her apart, what other owns are revealed in the story?
  8. Does Linh really love Thanh? Why/why not?
  9. David wrote -Ram Music" especially for Linh. How is this suggestive of what win happen to their relationship?
  10. What is significant about the use of rain in the title, as well as at the end of the story?
  11. As a sister, what can the narrator do for Linh?
  12. How much does being Vietnamese bring to bear on any relationship Linh may have?

WRITING ACTIVITIES:

  1. Write a letter to Linh including your own advice as to what to do in her present situation. If appropriate, include personal experiences.
  2. Write a letter to Linh's parents in an attempt to explain to them why they should be accepting of the relationship between Linh and David.
  3. Write a letter to David from Linh explaining why their relationship has no future.
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