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- Karin Esterhammer describes her life on the alley as the only foreigner. How do you think the neighbors’ attitudes toward her affect her experience in the country?
- In what ways does being a foreigner in a Communist country restrict or free her actions?
- How would you feel about being watched by the police, i.e., listening to phone calls, reading your email.
- What are some of the primary differences between Vietnamese and American family life?
- Swan acts and thinks more Western than anyone else in the book. How has that change her view of her country?
- How has Western culture influenced and changed life in Vietnam?
- What were the factors that caused tension in the neighborhood about her presence?
- How do these influences change the way Americans are viewed?
- Does Karin Esterhammer view Vietnam differently at the end of her journey?
- How have her expectations about success and money been changed or confirmed by living with the poor?
Wonderful questions about cultural differences and how to make friends in a strange land.