In The Short Stories, “Saving Sourdi,” By May-Lee Chai

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In the short stories, “Saving Sourdi,” by May-Lee Chai and “The Moths,” by Helena Maria Viramontes, the main character of each short story goes through their own coming of age experience where they are forced to mature in order to overcome an obstacle. Chai explains her main character, Nea’s, struggle as she is forced to mature and overcome the departure of her older sister, Sourdi, from her life after she gets married and moves away. Viramontes, on the other hand, depicts her narrator’s struggle as she is forced to mature and overcome the death of her Abuelita on her own. Despite their very different approaches, both Chai and Viramontes successfully convey their main character 's struggles in their journey from youth to adulthood. The…show more content…
So when Sourdi started dating the boy their family had hired to wash dishes at their restaurant, Duke, Nea never considered him to be a “fork in the road, dividing [Nea’s] life with Sourdi from Sourdi’s life with men” (Chai 84). Nea underestimated Sourdi and Duke’s relationship and overestimated her and Sourdi’s bond. Soon enough, their mother caught on and ended up firing Duke, but Duke and Sourdi continued to fall in love with each other. Nea wasn’t surprised that Duke, the “funny-looking white kid”, fell in love with her sister (Chai 84). Sourdi is so beautiful that she had some beauty to spare and Nea would sometimes pretend that she was beautiful too. Where Sourdi was smooth, Nea had angles; where Sourdi was soft, Nea had bone (Chai 84). Sourdi is reserved and calm in contrast to Nea who is quite outspoken and rigid. Regardless of their differences, Sourdi and Nea remained close; that was until Sourdi was arranged to be married to a much older gentleman, Mr. Chhay, at the tender age of eighteen.
After getting married, Sourdi and Mr. Chhay moved a state away to Iowa, putting an even larger strain on Sourdi and Nea’s relationship. Sourdi did not want to get married to Mr. Chhay as she was still in love with Duke, but it wasn’t in Sourdi to fight back and go against her mother’s wishes— something Nea would have easily done. Nearly two years after Sourdi got married, Nea picks up a call from Sourdi one evening

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