on earth we're briefly gorgeous summary

Mother tongue refers to a person's first language or the language they have grown up with. She has been diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer and has just a few days to live. Working in a nail salon, she struggles as a single parent living in Hartford, Connecticut with her son and her mother Lan. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to Trevor obviously cares for Little Dog, and he doesn’t want him to feel bad, so he proves Little Dog is still attractive and desirable by engaging him in a second sex act. Both Lan and Rose are traumatized by the war. [13], In his review for Time, Vietnamese-American novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen wrote, "Vuong refuses to be embarrassed. And after Lan’s death, Little Dog and Rose take her ashes back to Vietnam for burial.

He insists that he and his mother were born not from war, as he long thought, but from beauty. Little Dog’s writing is again random and scattered like memories.

Outside, there are people everywhere. A large part of Little Dog dies with Lan, which is why this memory is included in his letter. The two become close quickly and begin spending time alone in the barn. Little Dog remembers reassuring his mother that she wasn’t a monster, but now writes that he was lying. As a queer person of color, Little Dog is “othered,” much like the Vietnamese drag queens, and he is viewed like an animal by society. Trevor’s existence on Google is another metaphor for power of memory. As Little Dog attempts to tell, or rather show, Rose what it means to be a writer, the structure of his letter again reads like stream of consciousness, and his thoughts become random and seemingly disconnected, much like memory can be. Little Dog hopes he and his mother can survive in the same way. Soon after, Trevor develops a drug addiction. When Trevor says they should “just do it,” he means they should have penetrative sex rather than the modified “fake fucking” they usually do. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is the debut novel by Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong, published by Penguin Press on June 4, 2019. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs.

"[15], Dwight Garner of The New York Times gave the novel a mixed review, writing, "Vuong's writing about nail salons, and the way mothers raised their children in them, is moving and rarely less than excellent. Little Dog’s comment that he went to say goodbye to Trevor in a “way men are supposed to do” implies that men are not supposed to show their feelings and emotions, and to do so is to not behave as a “real” man. Little Dog’s switch from poetry back to prose reflects the gravity and sadness of the situation.

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. Abused by his loving but mentally ill mother and tormented by schoolmates, the narrator, Little Dog, eventually finds solace in his first love affair, a tragic relationship with a rough American teenager ravaged by drugs. Lan tells Little Dog the story of how she met his grandfather, Paul. Trevor was robbed of his dreams—to go to college and be a physical therapist—largely because of the inappropriate prescribing of OxyContin.

Through writing, excavating his memories, the raw truth of his hurt and grief, the narrator is able to reconcile each of his relationships, to better understand himself, and imagine his future. This passage also reflects the power of memory.

They will never be white like the Europeans who colonized America many years before. Little Dog is beautiful for the exact same reasons he is “hunted”—his race and his sexuality. This underscores the effect of suggestion on memory and implies that not all memories are created equal.

He knows her abuse is tied to PTSD, but adds, "You're a mother, Ma. Trevor, the farmer's grandson, white though hardly privileged, hooked on the painkillers he was prescribed for a broken ankle at 15, lives with his weepy, inebriated father in a mobile home behind the interstate. He remembers Rose in the kitchen with a knife, quietly telling him to get out.

To be gorgeous implies visibility, which is a risk for people within marginalized community.

Five years after meeting Little Dog, Trevor dies from overdosing, while Little Dog works in New York City as a writer. [11], Kirkus Reviews gave the novel a rave review, saying, "The result is an uncategorizable hybrid of what reads like memoir, bildungsroman, and book-length poem. As a teenager, Little Dog fell in love with a boy named Travis; the two experimented with drugs, and Little Dog came out to Rose as gay.

One evening, while listening to a football game on the radio, Little Dog and Trevor initiate an intimate relationship. There is so much Little Dog wants to tell his mother in his letter, but much of it is lost behind syntax and semantics. Here, Little Dog admits that he has bipolar disorder and also struggles with his mental health and with problems of addiction, which he suggests are related.

It is impossible for Little Dog to talk about Trevor without talking about OxyContin and cocaine. But she sick. Ocean Vuong's debut novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is written in the form of a letter from a young Vietnamese American man to his mother. Essay Topics. The following version of this book was used to make the guide: Vuong, Ocean. [14], Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Steph Cha called the novel "a book of sustained beauty and lyricism, earnest and relentless, a series of high notes that trembles exquisitely almost without break. Seven months later, Little Dog stands next to Lan’s bed as she is dying. Little Dog goes home instead, and it is after midnight when Little Dog opens the door to his mother’s room. The meaning of “What’s good” cannot be understood without a grasp of the cultural context in which it exists. At twenty-eight, she gave birth to a daughter, Hong, the Vietnamese word for Rose. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter written by a man called Little Dog to his mother named Rose. Trevor’s explanation of the buffaloes running over the cliff again harkens to drug use and addiction within families and communities. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. In other words, the monarchs live because of stories and lessons learned, just as Little Dog does, and he will pass this knowledge on to the next generation. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous should seal his literary stature. Ocean Vuong's debut novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is written in the form of a letter from a young Vietnamese American man to his mother. Little Dog’s claim that he doesn’t want his emotions to be “othered” reflect the ways in which Little Dog is “othered” by society for both his race and his sexuality. Teachers and parents! On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous Ocean Vuong. Little Dog’s description of his letter as a “shipwreck” reflects the scattered and random structure of his stories and memories.

Trevor’s comment that Little Dog “dropped his tampon” again reflects Trevor’s narrow idea of masculinity, as Trevor reads Little Dog’s fear of injecting drugs as feminine and not the behavior of a “real” man. At least, Little Dog notes, until she speaks her “stuttered” and “garbled” English. A needle exchange is a program in which addicts can safely exchange dirty needles for clean ones, therefore reducing the transmission of blood borne diseases, and it is evidence that Trevor is indeed an addict. Themes.

While Little Dog was at college, Travis died of an overdose. Little Dog’s late night prayers are evidence of his struggles with his identity, as both a person of color and a member of the queer community, and his attempts to belong in a society in which he doesn’t really fit. Important Quotes. Character Analysis. There are enough of these that this novel’s keel can lodge in the mud. You're also a monster. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Ocean Vuong said that his novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous was about "the failure of the American Dream," which was one of several types of failure in the... "Our mother tongue, then, is no mother at all—but an orphan."

resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. The letter is written to Little Dog's mother Hong, more often called or translated as Rose (hồng). Little Dog had explained in an earlier draft of his letter how he became a writer, but he has since deleted it. Part 1. It was 1967 in Saigon, and Lan had just finished her work for the evening. [10], At the review aggregator website Book Marks, which assigns individual ratings to book reviews from mainstream literary critics, the novel received a cumulative "Positive" rating based on 41 reviews: 22 "Rave" reviews, 14 "Positive" reviews, and 5 "Mixed" reviews. Her father, his real grandfather, was a nameless GI whose identity is meaningless: he was nobody, one of any of the men Lan had been with.

[3][4][5][6][7][8], On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous was published by Penguin Press on June 4, 2019.

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Little Dog suggests that some memories can’t be forgotten, even after death and reincarnation. One day at the nail salon, Rose has a client who is an older woman and wants a pedicure.

He’s a writer in his late 20s, but this story is told largely in retrospect.

The novel concludes with Little Dog remembering a conversation he had with Rose, and she laughs at the end of it, and Little Dog doesn't understand why. Chapter Summaries & Analyses. Clearly, Little Dog expects to be destroyed before racial discrimination is resolved in America. Little Dog provides another perspective on “mother tongue.” For Little Dog, the “mother" is no mother but... eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. Trevor eventually becomes addicted to opioids and later overdoses and dies. The author Ocean Vuong was first published as a poet, and the poetry in this novel—present in the language, in the images and ideas—is unforgettable. It is not clear who her real father is because her mother Lan had to work as a prostitute to survive after escaping an arranged marriage. 40 likes. The son knows that chances are slim that his mother, whose grasp of English is limited, will actually read his confessional missive. Rose later tells her son that the story is not true. Enjoy this free preview Unlock all 24 pages of this Study Guide by subscribing today. [17], The book was a finalist for the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

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