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The Book ''inside Out and Back Again'' by Thanhha Lai: Refugee Routes

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Refugees are regular people who are forced to flee their country because of wars or imprisonment/torture and want a new and safer life. While fleeing their home, a refugee’s life can turn inside out because of loss, danger and homelessness, and several other challenges. While finding a home, a refugee’s life can turn back again because they find a new home to live in, they are safer in their new home, and they get to try and adapt to their new environment and make new friends. Ha is a 10-year-old girl who lives in Saigon, Vietnam and Ha is a mischievous little girl who loves her family. Ha is smart and stubborn and tries to do everything she can to get what she wants. Her life is turned inside out because of the Vietnam war. Communists travel to her country and take over Saigon which is in South Vietnam. Ha, and her family is forced to leave her own country and travel to a safer place for themselves. Ha leaves on a boat, leaving behind school, friends, and Saigon. Her life finally turns back again when Ha and her family moved to Alabama. Ha’s life in Alabama was not easy at first but after a while, Ha made lots of friends and she also got really good news. Ha, and her family finally heard from her father. This makes Ha’s life even better. No matter who refugees are, where they are from, or why they flee. All refugees experience the loss of a loved one and they also experience a feeling of relief and safety when they find a temporary group of people they can trust. This is what refugees go through and what the historical fiction character, Ha goes through.

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The lives of refugees turn ‘inside out’ because of homelessness, loss, and danger. ‘I slept in the bathtub for days because that was the only place where you were safe from bullets.’ This quote shows that there was danger even in your own home. Almost nowhere in the country was safe. ‘In Saigon, three civilians were killed and three others were injured when an explosion caused by a hand grenade ripped through a crowded supermarket.’ This quote shows that lots of refugees experience loss because of war. The lives of refugees turn inside out when finding a home because of them not being able to fit in easily. ‘ A pink boy with white hair on his head and white eyebrows and white eyelashes pulls my arm hair. Laughter.’ This quote shows that some refugees did not fit in well with the people in their new homes. This is how a refugee’s life can turn inside out.

The lives of refugees “turn back” again when finding a home because they can adapt to their new home and make new friends, and they can also feel safer than they did in their old home. “Three girls of bronze-bread skin remove colorful barrettes from their hair and twist onto my head so many braids” This shows that Ha has made new friends that she can do stuff with. This is one of the good things that happen when finding a new home. ‘Refugees get to go back to school if they need to.’ ‘Some refugees get to learn English for the first time.’ These quotes show that refugees can still learn new things and adapt to their new environment. When refugees finally find a home their life is different but still, they have things that they did in their old home that are weird in their new one. So sometimes they get a little homesick and think about going back.

On the journey fleeing home refugees experience loss, danger, and homelessness. These challenges impact their lives because the loss of a loved one can scar a person. And also, if you’re homeless, you can feel lost and like you have no purpose. Another thing is that when everywhere is dangerous, you can’t feel that feeling of safety. On the journey to finding home refugees experience that feeling that they can’t fit into their new home. They might feel that they do not belong in that new place. Although many encounters change their lives forever, their lives eventually begin to turn back again. When the lives of refugees turn ‘back again,’ they begin to feel welcome in their new home, they begin to adapt to their new home, and they can feel safe in their new home. These solutions help refugees because they can go outside of their homes and feel normal and don’t have to feel nervous. They feel like they belong and that their new home will work out. This is how the lives of refugees can turn inside out and back again.

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