On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous - Pages 1 - 65 Summary & Analysis

Ocean Vuong
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Summary

In Pages 1 - 65, the 28-year-old narrator begins a letter to his mother, Rose. He considers the monarch butterflies migration down the coast, likening them to his mother's PTSD from the Vietnam War.

He then begins recalling each time his mother hit him as a boy, initiating a series of narrative fragments. He remembers his mother's sudden whims, her obsession with coloring, her love for dressing up to go to the mall. Once while at Goodwill, Rose buys a dress, wanting to look American.

When the narrator is 13, he finally tells Rose to stop hitting him, believing she will now stop. Throughout his childhood he remembers her listening to Chopin, disappearing into herself, spouting truisms. One day, she told him not to think of her as a monster. He told her she was not a monster, but knew he was lying, believing himself a...

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This section contains 1,598 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Study Guide
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