Inside Out and Back Again is an award winning, historical fiction novel by Thanhha Lai. It is 1975 and ten-year-old Hà lives with her mother and three brothers in Saigon, which is about to be taken over by the North Vietnamese. The family decides to make the dangerous journey to flee as refugees to the United States. Once in America, they find kindness and generosity as well as cruel racism, bullying, and the struggle to start over in a new land while learning a new language. Lai weaves Hà's story through moving chapters written in verse that is concise and compelling, giving readers a view of the perspective of refugee children and their families in America.
Identify, describe and illustrate figurative language found in the book, Inside Out and Back Again.
"LIKE LAUNDRY BEING WRUNG DRY"
"HOVERING LIKE A BLANKET"
"LIKE CLUSETERS OF EYES, WET AND CRYING"
Hà describes her mother's concerned and worried face with the simile, "brows twist like laundry being wrung dry." As the family runs out of food and Saigon is at risk of falling to the North Vietnamese, her mother is worried about their survival and whether to stay in Vietnam or to flee.
When Hà is going to sleep in her new American home, she appreciates her mother lighting incense and hitting the gong which reminds her of home. She describes the smells and sounds that envelope her as she falls asleep as "hovering like a blanket, tugging me in."
Papayas have small black seeds inside that Hà describes as "a seed like a fish eye, slippery and shiny black." Later when Hà is leaving her homeland as her family flees the war, she describes her sadness through her papaya tree. Her mother encourages her to have the one papaya that is growing before they leave. When it is cut open Hà looks at the seeds as "like clusters of eyes, wet and crying."
INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAINFIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: SIMILES