When Heaven and Earth Changed Places Essay

1123 Words May 20th, 2006 5 Pages
In the book When Heaven and Earth Changed Places by Le Ly Hayslip, Le Ly was just one of many peasants trying to survive during war time. Survival meant having to make some hard decisions; decisions that may make peasants go against their roots. However, as we see Le Ly do throughout the book, peasants do not completely abandon their family traditions. Le Ly was very close to her father and kept everything he taught her in mind while she made some difficult choices. "My father taught me to love god, my family, our traditions, and the people we could not see: our ancestors" (ix). With her father's help, she was able to honor her past, provide for her family's needs, and give her son a chance for a better future. If Le Ly was unable to …show more content…
"In the name of my father and all the other victims of war, I founded an agency in 1987 to help my brothers and sisters in Vietnam while helping my brothers and sisters in the United States come back from their wartime experiences" (367). The means of survival were not looked down on so much as a disgrace, but as young woman trying to do the best she can to keep her and her family alive.
Le Ly thought about the welfare of her family when she was going from job to job. At one point, Le Ly had to support two households on a black-market salary. "With the expense of two households and less money from my sales, I could see the day would come when we would all be back out on the street. …I determined I would do anything before I let that happen again" (256). This forced Le Ly to take drastic measures she vowed she never would take again. When Big Mike offered four hundred dollars to Le Ly to have sex with two GI's, she at first refused. However, with the money she would be able to take care of her family for a year. "Four hundred dollars would support my mother, me and Hung for over a year…" (258). Selling one's body was not looked highly upon. Le Ly, remembering what her father taught her, decided she must do this for the family. "He taught me that to sacrifice one's self for freedom… was a very high honor" (ix). She was able to give in to Big Mike knowing that this money was going to help her and her family's financial situation. This money would also

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