The Clay Marble By Minfong Ho

1538 Words7 Pages
Written by Minfong Ho, The Clay Marble introduces a relatively new topic to today’s teenagers-the lives of Cambodia during wartime in the 1970s. In 154 pages and eighteen chapters, The Clay Marble follows the life of the protagonist, Dara, a twelve-year old Cambodian girl, seeking a home for the remnants of family during Cambodian’s civil war. The novel is historical fiction, presenting the story of Dara in her own first-person perspective.
With a war going on between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese government, the supposedly safest and richest (with food/supply) and populated place was Nong Chan, a refugee camp on the Thailand border. That was the destination of Dara, her mother, and her brother, Sarun coming from a village known
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At first, Dara heavily relied on Jantu’s “magic” clay marble, needing its magic, its luck, and a lot more values that are not muscles. Back then, it was reasonable Dara didn’t make anything back then, because back then, Dara only had remnants of confidence in herself. As the novel goes on, Dara learns to become more and more confident within herself.
The Clay Marble, although short and sweet, introduced me to Asian life in Cambodia during its civil war. In chapter seven of the book, I could make a connection between the Cherokee’s Trail of Tears and the long grueling walk the many refugee families had to take to reach safety. The Cherokees were walking away from the harsh greedy whites, while the refugees were walking away from the nearing fighting of the civil war.
I really appreciate Dara and Jantu’s view on life. In the novel, when Dara was persuading Sarun to quit being a soldier at the end, she made wonderful arguments. The most memorable argument was when Dara said that it took more courage to stay peaceful in their own village, rather than to fight in war, which was nothing else than a game of destroying and breaking. I never thought of bravery that kind of way, and I am glad Minfong Ho introduced me to this new concept through her

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