In Saving Sourdi, the little sister, Nea attempts numerous times to save her sister. First Nea attempts to save Sourdi from an unruly customer. At which she gets berated not only from her mother but also Sourdi. The second time is from Sourdi’s boyfriend Buck. The third time is from an older man, her Uncle’s friend, with which Soursi marries. The fourth time she involves Buck when she attempts to save her from her husband.
The setting is simply contemporary America, South Dakota and Iowa. If the author hadn’t mentioned the rapper Snoop-Dog and given a reference to the candy bar Payday and the store 7-11, I could have dated this work to be in the 20’s trough to the 50’s because of the stereotypical way the daughter gets married off to an older man.
The author characterizes Nea with what I call “little man” syndrome, she is in constant readiness to fight for her sister, however she doesn’t go about it with common sense. Nobody seems to understand Nea, least of all her sister Sourdi. All she attempts to do is save Sourdi, however Nea is not looking at the big picture. There is nothing or no one from which to save Sourdi. The characterization of Sourdi is the stereotypical Chinese/American in which she does exactly what her family expects of her, even if it is something that she is against. The author characterizes their Ma as someone who cares only for the restaurant and the family’s reputation, however that it not fair to their mother.
She may fear if they lose the restaurant they could lose the right to stay in the states. We are never told. Buck is characterized as a person whom to protect Sourdi from at first and then a champion whom will fight for Sourdi, who is in the middle of an abusive relationship. When in fact we are never told why Sourdi was crying to her Ma, it could have been the fact that she is pregnant and doesn’t know how to deal with her baby and pregnancy at the same time.
Nea never learns that the most important thing to her sister and mother is family. McCarty 2 I would have preferred the writing to be in first person than third person. It may have changed the way I felt about the way the family treated Nea.
Chai, May-lee, Saving Sourdi (2001)