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A Cambodian Survivor

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A Cambodian Survivor

“Bang!” That was all Arn’s life at the camps he was being held at where there was no food and the malevolent people in charge would kill anyone for anything. It was hard for Arn to go through things at camp and when they were on the move, but what helped him was music, intelligence, and his ability to withdraw emotions.

The first way that Arn is able to cope with everything is by learning how to play the khim. The Khim, a musical instrument, was the instrument Arn had to plan and he had the aptitude to play. By playing music, Arn is able to survive and stay alive though all of the hard work they are forced to do. One example of this is, “I raise my hand. Just give me one more bowl of rice, I think, then you can kill me”(McCormick 48). When the Khmer Rouge asked who wanted to play music all Arn can think about is food. He’s thinking that if he plays music for them that they will keep him alive and give him food. Another good example of this is, “‘... you don’t teach us to play, we die too. Us kids’”(57). When Mek, the music teacher, doesn’t help the kids, Arn has to help him see that if they all want to live through all the pain he needs to teach them how to play. Moreover, “We play fast, no stopping, to cover the sound of the killing…” (85). To cover up the sound of killing at the camp, the Khmer Rouge have the band play music when these events take place. When Arn plays it takes him to another world, and out of the one they are all in right now. As shown, music helps Arn stay alive in the book Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick by keeping him fed, saving others, and taking him to another world.

Another way Arn is able to survive this time is by withdrawing himself from situations. First of all, “I think I gonna feel sad or maybe scare. But no feeling in me. No crying. I don’t care about anything. Death is just my daily life now” (45). By not feeling anything he can withdraw himself and try to not think about what is was wrong. It is safer for him to not feel than to have feelings at the camp. In the same way, “I make my eye blank. You show you care, you die. You show fear, you die. You show nothing, maybe you live” (53). If the kids were caught caring about anyone other than their adversary, the Khmer Rouge would kill them and anyone else involved. The people, who they do not allow to live, are people who they think have broken rules or they are not faithful to Angka. If they think someone cares about that person they would assume that both people committed the same crime. Then again, the strongest example is “...bang he shoot himself in the head, die right there; no

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