Goodbye Vietnam

A Novel by Gloria Whelan

This is a novel that looks at issues including;
* the plight of refugees
* change
* family life
* struggles to survive / life's challenges
* growing up / learning the realities of life
* patriarchal societies (dominated by men)
* hope and hopelessness
* faith (types of faith)
* bribery / corruption
* differences between city life and village life
* traditions
* importance of culture in defining who you are


Goodbye Vietnam tells the story of Mai, a young Vietnamese girl, who is forced to flee her country and become a boat person. She tells us of her journey - all she sees, hears and experiences - from when she leaves her home (and why), what she experiences on her journey to the 'silver city', and what happens to her and her family when they arrive in new world.

This guide will help you to analyze and understand the novel.

Goodbye Vietnam

Study Guide Sample

Part One - The Village

Chapter 1

1. Who is a part of Mai's family?

2. What is Grandmother's profession?

3. Where is Mai's Uncle?

4. What were 'noi'?

5. Why does Grandmother call Mai 'Hai'?

6. What reasons are given for the family leaving the village (p12)?

7. What was kept in the buried metal chest?

8. What are the family planning to do?

Activity - What has been the scariest event in your life? Write about what happened. (minimum 1/2 A4 page)

Chapter 2

1. Where did mother send the children?

2. Why did the government watch Grandmother (p15)?

3. What did the children find at the store that surprised them?

4. How does Father say the family will escape (p20-21)?

5. Who were the 'ma da'?

6. What does Grandmother really have in her basket?

7. Who do you think is saddest about leaving? What words or phrases indicates this?

Activity - You are Mai. Write a goodbye letter to your best friend in Vietnam who you will probably never see again. Tell her about what you are thinking and feeling.


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