Hello class of 2022! This is the page where you’ll post your thoughts on The Best We Could Do. As a reminder, here are the questions you can answer:
- When evaluating one’s own identity, does family history play a significant role? In the novel, how does Thi’s family contribute to or affect the construction of her ‘self’? How is ‘family’ defined in this book (e.g. page 21)? To what extent do you think your sense of identity relies on your family background?
- Thi’s relationship with her father is frequently featured in the book’s plot. How could her curiosity about her father’s past affect their relationship in the future? Can the pain of past struggles ever justify poor decisions made in the present? Is it ever appropriate to keep things unclear or unknown instead of digging into painful experiences in search of the truth? Support your response with a clear example ‐ from the novel or from an alternative historical event.
- The Best We Could Do addresses refugee experience and cultural assimilation. How did the different members of Thi’s family react to American culture? Did they sacrifice parts of their past selves to belong in San Diego? How did their journey to the United States affect them?
- What does it mean to be “a little more American” (page 65)? How does the book present a sense of values and identities that are based on ideas of nation and nationality?
- How does Thi use storytelling to confront her family’s trauma? What are the advantages of using storytelling ‐ or memoir ‐ to address personal trauma? In what ways is Thi Bui’s choice of the graphic novel genre significant?
- Do you think there are significant obstacles to understanding the events and the personal history addressed in this book? If so, how would you identify these obstacles (e.g. lack of historical/geographical/political knowledge, cultural difference, narrative form), and if not, why do you consider these obstacles to be surmountable?
- If you were to select a set of panels from the book that had the most impact upon you as a reader, which panels would they be? Identify the page numbers and articulate what you found to be meaningful in the interplay of image and text (or message).
We look forward to reading your thoughts!