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As Anh sets out for his first day of university he sees a pretty girl and quickly starts to explore his Casio. Anh quickly sneaks another look at her and she smiles. "The girl's smile lit up the room. She seemed to emanate a warmth which captivated [Anh]." Over the next six months Anh and the girl, Suzie, became best friends, thy would talk on the phone for hours and eventually Anh got up the courage to ask her out on a date. She replied with "I really like you, Anh, but kind of more as a friend." As Anh "hobbled off in a rush" he reflects that he understood why she didn't want to date him, Anh "looked like a Vietnamese Billy Ray Cyrus".

Law was never for Anh and so he enrolled in a visual arts course at TAFE. Anh always found that "if you apply yourself at the right time with the right amount of intensity, you can accomplish just about anything." Anh also states "How would you choose to spend six hours: studying the validity of clause 61, or sketching gorgeous nude women."

When studying art Anh dated a number of girls but still his "heart belonged to a law girl." Suzie hated law just as much as Anh and when she was in a lecture he would sneak in and take her out for a coconut ice-cream. One day when Anh was lined up to go into a law lecture Suzie walked up with a fistful of daffodils. Anh reflects that "if uni was one big, dismal, grey cloudy day,Suzie was the patch of sunlight that breaks through and takes you completely by surprise." Anh tried to get Suzie to go out on a date with him a few more times but she always said no, or "I'm leaving for Africa tomorrow" because she was going to represent the university in a debating competition. When she arrived home he sung a song on his guitar for her but still "she had no desire to date this Vietnamese, football-playing palm reader."

One morning Anh needed to go the shops but Koah and Tram were taking to long to get ready so he left without them. While stopped at an intersection he was rear ended by a bus, who's driver was an elderly man who didn't see Anh's stopped car. If "Tram and Koah had come, one of them would've been killed." The bus company paid out $4000 for the car and all three of the Do siblings we're overjoyed because it finally meant that they could buy a new computer which ended up kick starting Koah's movie career.

When Anh was in his second year of university he got a job at the local post-office. He had one week to memorize all the suburbs postcodes in New South Wales. When he went for the test he passed and got the job. Over peak periods the post office called Anh up for a night shift and he could earn nearly double time on weekends and public holidays. Anh also used this as a party trick at university with girls and would show off his knowledge of postcodes to them.

When Anh was old enough to earn legitimate money he, Koah and his mum saved up to buy three industrial strength sewing machines. About three months later they were stolen and Anh's mum was shattered and Anh was angry. That night he went to a local park and cursed "everyone and everything for [his] mothers suffering. Most off all [he] cursed his father. He should have been there to protect [his mum and siblings]."

The next day Anh called up one of his uncles and got his fathers phone number. Anh called it up but forgot to put in the area code. The docket with the number then stayed in Anh's pocket for another two years.

Anh loved art so much that he signed up for extra drawing classes and was giving a girl, Rachel, a lift home after lessons. Soon they were dating and when out at a beach market Anh saw an opportunity to make some money by selling crystals.Rachel gave Anh her savings and soon they were making a killing selling crystals at a hippy market. However, the other stall owners saw what was happening and expanded to include Tomahawks, head-dresses, jewellery and axes, This was 'in' at the time so Rachel and Anh made a lot of money selling it all. After a while however it became clear that Anh and Rachel didn't have much in common and so they broke up and Anh gave back all the money, Rachel made triple her money back.

When Anh was studying art he got into the alternative life style and lived with two hippie girls who got him to go to a festival. There he met a girl named Amanda who was a vegan. They started to date and she got him to go vegan as well. Anh lost 18 kilograms which meant that playing rugby league was hard. He didn't have the weight to back up his enthusiasm on the field and ended up breaking his elbow in a tackle. When Anh and Amanda broke up he went straight out for a meaty day of unhealthy eating.

Anh was still running the stall at the beach with Rachel and one night he was going to a party and decided to take the train, however he had a car full of $5000 worth of merchandise and decided to call up Suzie to see if he could keep his car in her driveway. When he arrived Suzie looked into his car and out stepped a girl that had :no shoes and she had under arm hair and feathers hanging out of her dreadlocks. When they left the family didn't bat an eyelid but as soon as they were gone they went into hysterics and laughed at the way Anh dressed.


In chapter 8 the theme of being a ‘outsider’ is greatly valid due to Ahn’s experiences. With Ahn just coming out of high-school and is starting university, studying art and law, he also found the love of his life at first sight. At the start of the chapter he discusses how he does not have any social skills with girls and how it can make him feel like an outsider at certain times. Meeting a girl you love and not being able to talk to her is definitely something that can make someone feel like an outsider. Knowing that yo ur life can change dramatically good or bad at the flick of the finger because of social skill that isn’t a really strong point. Throughout the chapter it talks about how Anh is love struck by this beautiful girl but cannot seem to get in a relationship with her. He says that they talk on the phone for hours on end but she still says they are just friends. This makes Anh confused about their relationship and makes him feel like an outsider. The confidence in himself to go further for the relationship and thinking he is different to others about this action is a cornerstone to the mindset to himself of the theme. It is further evaluated and explained when his love gets a boyfriend...


Anh Do

Anh do plays a major role in this chapter as he does in all the chapters. In chapter 8, Anh do is a student on his first day to University. Anh Do displays the theme of love in this chapter as he falls in love on the first day at the very start of the chapter and we know this when Anh says, "that day, at 10:06 a.m. and eleven seconds precisely, was when time stood still for Anh Do.". Throughout this chapter, Anh Do talks about how he is being smitten by the girl he likes but she only sees him as a friend. Another theme explored is the theme of being an outside. Anh mentions that he has bad social skills when it comes to talking to girls which could make him feel like an outsider. Anh mentions that "After about six months, Suzie and I had become best friends, and she would ring me up after classes and we would talk for three or fours hours.". However, suzie later tells him that she only sees him as a friend which causes Anh to be confused about his relationship with her. Soon after, Suzie tells Anh that she has a boyfriend. This incident in particular causes Anh to feel like an outsider. The biggest change in Anh is that he is studying law and art and he rarely mentions his father. He also slowly starts getting closer to other girls. He even had 2 girlfriends, Rachel who was a redhead and rode a motorbike, as well as a Amanda who was a Vegan. his physical appearance also changed as he grew his mowhawk out longer.


Suzie also plays a major role in Chapter 8. In this chapter, Suzie was the girl that had smitten Anh Do on his first day at University. Suzie was a law student, which was the same as Anh Do. Suzie displays the theme of love in this chapter as she was the person that Anh fell in love with. Throughout this chapter, Suzie was described as Anh Do's best friend. She did not laugh at his accent or the fact that he was a refugee. Later in the book, we discover that Suzie does actually marry Anh Do and they had three kids. Suzie also had a boyfriend in this chapter and that also displays the theme of outsider. Suzie was accepted by Anh Do as a friend even though he knew that she had a boyfriend and was not shunned by Anh. However, Suzie also displays the theme of rejection as she rejects Anh several times as Anh states, "but every time I thought I had a shot, she'd tell me we were 'just friends.'". Suzie was described by Anh Do as he says, "this girl's smile lit up the room. she seemed to emanate a warmth which captivated me.". Her physical appearance was a 'tallish blonde girl.'.


Minh plays a rather minor but important character in this chapter. Minh was acquainted with Anh through Anh's part time job as a mail sorter. Anh mentions that he looks up at the clock very often, "until an old Vietnamese before the war but was now a permanent mail sorter, took me under his wing.'. Minh displays the theme of Love as well in the chapter. Minh was also a Vietnamese refugee who wanted to come to Australia in order to seek a better life as well as support his family so that they can also come over. However, due to the fact that for seven years, he was captured and brought to a refugee camp in Phillipines, he was unable to keep his promise to his wife. He retells the sad story to Anh about how, "by the time he got to Australia, his wife had already found a new husband to help care for the two young kids she had to feed.". This incident caused Minh to be greatly depressed. he also displays the theme of friendship as he ,"decided he'd help me get into the groove of sorting mail. He helps Anh during this period of time and acts as a friend and companion. His job was of an engineer back when he was in Vietnam before the war. His physical appearance was not described in the chapter.

Key Quote

‘It might have been a strange way to react to an accident, but Khoa, Tram and I really were absolutely overjoyed that I had been hit by a bus’

When Anh was hit by a bus Khoa made a statement which would seem unusual to people who had not experienced the accident ‘Anh let a bus run you over once a week’, it seemed quite fitting in this sense as they haven’t seen that much money in quite a long time and it seemed like a miracle that Anh wasn’t injured and that they received $4000 due to the accident that was caused. Having the experience the Do family had from Vietnam to Australia gave them the hope and courage to move on with their lives, accepting what had happened to them in the past, fighting to live a happy life in Australia.

With the money that they received from the bus company they purchased a computer something that they ‘never owned’ and could never imagine owning. Due to their lives back in Vietnam they knew the value things held, knowing exactly how to spend the money they received. The computer was the most beneficial thing that the Do family could buy with that money, with Khoa and Anh now being able to write their first screen plays and Anh being able to type his assignments making the 10 percent deduction something in the past. With the computer it gave the Do family a potential future. There hardships that they faced fleeing Vietnam had helped them become the family they are now, and the accident Anh faced made the Do family grateful and blessed as the money gave them the future that they hoped for.

Analysis Questions

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