Inside Out And Back Again (2023)

Tết (or the year of the cat) is thenew year in Vietnam, it's also the first day of the lunar calendar. On Tet everyone eats sugary lotus seeds and glutinous rice cakes,and wear new clothes.InTet everyonegains one year. But they also need to fallow the rules, a lot of them. One of their traditions are, on Tet only boys cantap their toesonthe floor in the morning first for good luck to come to the family. But Ha didn't like it she didn't like any of their traditions and that women can't do anything, so she wakes up before anyone and taps her big toe to the floor first and no one knew.

inside out

Ha's mother visits the I Ching Teller of Fate every year, this year he said that their lives will twist inside out. And Ha is getting lots of thoughts that itwill be good, but will it?

Kim Hà

Brother Quang still remembers that Hà was red and fat as a baby hippopotamus wen he first saw Hà. Hà's name was inspired from Hà Mã, River Horse. Hà gets scared every time brother Vũ screams Hà Ya and breaks wood or bricks in imitation of Bruce Lee. Brother Khôi always calls Hà mother's tail because she is like a sticker on her mother. Hà can't make her brothers go live elsewhere but she can always hide their sandals.Which they each have but one pair, really needed during the dry season when earth is too hard to walk on. Hà's mother say's ignore your brothers "We named you Kim Hà, after the Golden (Kim) River (Hà), where father and I once strolled in the evenings. Hà's parents didn't think that Hà's brothers would make jokes out of her name. Hà's mother say's "They tease you because they adore you". Hà thinks she is wrong, but she still loves her mother so much even more than her papaya tree. she will offer her its first fruit.

Papaya Tree

Hà talks about how her papaya tree grew from a seed that she had flicked into the back garden, a seed that looked like a black, shiny,slippery fish eye. The tree's measurement nowis as tall as Hà standing on her tippy toes. Brother Khôi was first to find the first white blossom four more years and he will find more, later brother Vũ found a baby papaya the size of a fist clinging to the trunk,when heiseighteen years he can see more because he is going to be higher than the tree. Brotheris twenty-one years he isthe oldest and he is studying engineering, who know what he willrallies before Hà about the tree. Hà always wakes up earlyso she canstare out the window the green fruit shaped like a light bulb, and be the first person to pick it from the tree.

TiTi Waves Good-bye

TiTi, Hà's best friend is leaving she was crying so hard, her two brothers were also sniffling sitting inside their car. They had so many suitcases that they were packed till the roof. Before TiTi went in the car she gave Hà the flower seeds that they gathered last fall. They hoped to plant them together. TiTi was waving from the back window of their rabbit-shaped car, her tears mix with long strands of hair, hair that Hà wished to have. Hà would've just stood there crying and waving to nothing if it wasn't for brother Khôi to come and take my hand, "They're heading to Vũng Tàu, he says, "where the riches go to flee Vietnam on cruise ships." , Hà is really glad that they'vebecome poor so theycan stay.

Missing in Action

Hà's father left on a navymission on this day nine years ago when Hà was almost one, he was captured on rout 1 an hour south the city by moped, and that's all they knew every year on today Hà's mother prepares an altar to chant for his return, by offering fruit, incense, tuberoses, and glutinous rice too. She displays his portrait taken during Tết the year he disappeared, how peaceful he looked, smiling, with peacock tails at the corners of his eyes. They all bow, wish, hope, and pray. They leave everything on the altar to remain for the day except for the portrait. Their Mother locks it away rite after she finishes her chant. She's too weak to look at her husband's eyes.

Mother's Days

Hà's mother works as a secretaryat a navy office on weekdays, they trust her to count the salaries for each person at the end of each month, she stays up all night to design and cutbaby clothes to give seamstresses, one time she made enough money to buy a car. On weekends she takes Hà with her to the market stalls to drop off the clothes she had sewed and trying to collect on last thing on the week's goods .


Brother khoi isupset with his mother because of taking his eggs, the hen gives one egg per day they take turns eating them but brother khoi doesn't eat his instead he puts each under a lamp hopingfor a chick mother says if the price of eggs were not the price of rice ,and the price of rice were not the price of gasoline, and the price of gasoline were not the price of gold, brother khoi then can keep hatching eggs, she feels sorry.

current news

Every Friday in miss Xinh's class(ha's teacher)the class assignment isabout current news but when they keep talking about how close the communists have gotten to Saigon much prices have gone up,and American soldiers left many distans of hard props high finally says no more Fridays will be for happy news no one has nothing to say.

feel smart

This YearHa has afternoon classes plus Saturday so everystudent can fit in herschool, mornings are free hermother trusts her to goshop at the market, she would giveher fifty dong (vietnamese money)to buy one hundred grams of pork, water, andspinach Ha told no onethat shewas buying allthese thingsbecause that is her mother's instructions, she had extra money left so she bought some sweets, now so no one knows what she also bought she took less pork and she feels smart.

two more papayas

Ha seesher first two green papayasthat will grow into orange-yellowsweet papayasbetween amangoand a pear and alsososoft.

unknown father

Ha doesn't really know anything about her father just the things her mother says,what she knows is thather father used to love stewed eels, Pâté chaud pastries,and of course he loves his children the most he used to cry when he's watching them sleep, buthe didn't like cold rice, the color brown, or the afternoon sun, her mother would laugh whenever her husband followed her in the kitchen saying "I'm starved for stewed ell, sometimes Ha whispers to herself pretending to be her father but she or her brothers would never say at loud noun of them would want to upset her more than she is already.

TV news

Brother Quang comes dashing home on his bike then throws it down and runsto the TVand screams "Unbelievable"then turns onthe TV, a spy forSouth Vietnamhas succeeded bombing the presidential palace, the news says he works for the communists. The communists captured father so why would any pilot choose their side?, Ha is questioning, brother Quang answers" One cannot justify war unless each side flaunts its own blind conviction", trying to show off with his difficult words Ha gets mad but her mother pats her hand to keep her calm.


Even though Ha already had gained one year on Tetthey still celebrate her realbirthday by making her special meals and giving her candy, sometimes she asks her mother to tell her about herchildhood which is really hard to do she learns a lot about her mother's past and how she didn't have any duties but to write poetry and look pretty, she was arranged for Ha's father when she was five andthey got married at sixteen. They went to the south away from communism but Ha's mother gave birth of Quang in a bad time. Ha always wishes for her mother's eyes but her mother say no her life will turn into sadness, Ha wants to hear more but her mother wouldn't open her mouth and say a word.

birthday wishes

In this poem Ha reveals her secrets and wishes like toplay like boys, to stay calm when her brothers tease her, if her mother would let her grow her hair long, and if her father would show up and make her mother happy again.

a day downtown

Every year there is a ceremony to honor the wives of veterans, and there is also food handed out. Ha and her mother go to the ceremony and buy good food in town, but as soon as the speaker talks about how the nation appreciates the wives Ha and her mother leave.

twisting twisting

they realize that they don't have enough rice to last until payday, ha sees her mother's eyebrows scrunch together trying to figure out how to feed all of her children, after thinking her mother told them to mix yams with rice, but Ha thinks that's what the poor do.

closed too soon

Ha is disappointed that school is over a month earlier, because she is mad she pinches the girl next to her and wishes if she was her teacher's pet so that she couldwin the potato plant that her teacher is giving away.


The papaya tree now has five fruits thatare stillgreen but Ha knows what they will be later.

bridge to the sea

Uncle Son visits the family. He was Hà's father's best friend and still kind of watches out for them; he tells her mother that they need to escape and that there are navy ships that will take them away.

should we

They have a big decision to make, and Hà's mother turns to the brothers for opinions about whether they should flee their home; but theyeach think differently. Hà's mother is afraid of what will happen to them if they stay under the Communist rule, since she saw what happened when she used to live in the north.


In the middle of the night, Brother Khoi wakes up Hà and makes her promise that they will not leave because he has secretly hatched a little chick and she needs to care for her papaya tree.Hà swears.

quiet decision

Hà helps her mother peel sweet potatoes to mix with rice and when her mom sees her about to chop of a chunk at the bottom, then think again and only slice of a tiny bit, she begins to cry and tells her that she deserves to live a life where she is unconcerned with half a bite of potato.

early monsoon

Ha and her familypretend there isa monsoon, in the distance the bombssoundlike thunder slashes lightning the sky gunfire falls like rain rest the like thunder yet within ears not that far away after all.

the president resigns

The president says he cannot dohis jobanymore but he will never retreat over his country, Ha's mother is skeptical.

Watch over us

Uncle Son tells Hà's mother to keep the navy ship a secret, otherwise everyone will storm the ship and they won't get on board; the ship is only for navy families. Ha's mother tells her that their father is always watching them and that they have a plan if war seperates them, so their father will be able to find them.

crisscrossed park

Hà's mother sews backpacks for them to carry the essentials with them when they leave, Brother Khoi hints that he isn't coming, so Hà's mother tricks him into reconsidering by telling him they will stick together—so if he doesn't go, none of them will, but brother Khoi cannot stand letting people down, so he agrees to go.


The packs are small and can only fit in the most important clothes, a little rice, and one thing they choose to bring, Hà chooses her doll.

left behind

They must leave most of what they own, and Hà looks around at all these things, remembering the significance of them: glasses, a hammock where she naps, report cards, and photos. Her mother picks ten photos to take and burns the rest so there isn't evidence that could get them into trouble.

wet and crying

A papaya is nearly ripe but they don't want to let Communists eat it, so Hà's brother cuts it early for them all to eat.

Sour Backs

When they show up at the shipyard to escape, they realize really quickly that someone spilled the beans, Thousands of Vietnamese families rush the boat; Hà's bro and Uncle Son push forward, too.

one mat each

The ship is very crowded so every family gets one mat butHa'sbrathersclaim two forthe family, but it's really small they can barelylie down. And the ship is so full that it could sink but no one wants to get off the ship, even men they are afraidto leave their families alone.

in the dark

Uncle Son hears a rumor about the next ship over being better, so theyleave their ship to gocheck it out. So many peoplewent onthe new ship, though, that they quickly rush back to their spot on two mats this time, finding that the ship is now emptier thanks to that rumor

Saigon is gone

On the ship, everyone must stay below deck; all ofthe people on the shipare scared and Hà's mother is seasick. A commander comes in and says what no one wanted to hear ''Saigon is gone''. Because of that a women and a man tried to kill themselves


Their ship moves along the river with no lights, bathrooms, or cooking. They are told to sip water only when really needed so they don't get thirsty, Ha's body doesn't listen, her mother is embarrassed but Ha thinks it's worth it sence they are allowed to use the commander's bathroom, because the bathroom is really clean.


Everyone on the shipis starving, Hà chews on her last little moldy rice cakeslowly,itdoesn't smell good but not a single person wants to share.


Three days later, the refugees are allowed to have a little fresh rice and a cup of waterbecause it's safe to cook, Hareally likes the rice, because she was starving, that she was imagining herself eating papaya. And the commander says that many ships are looking for them to rescue them.


To deal with the boredom of sitting on a ship, Hà's mother makes herchildren study or exercise. Brother Quang teaches himself English and confides in Hà, when no one is around, that he's been thinking about how awful it feels to abandon his country and now drop down in class in his new home. Ha's mother gives Ha her writing pad and tells her to write small but was bored from writing so she drew instead.

once knew

Regular life is now a distant memory for Hà, and makes her think living was just a dream.

brother khoi's secret

Ha was wondering why her brother Khoi smells bad and he won't takeoff his jacket, and he keeps puttingsomething in his left pocket, everyone was complaining about his smell. Then brother Vu forced him to take his jacket off then chick fell out but it was dead brother Khoi was screaming and crying for his chick, but brother Quang took him above deck and told him to be quite.

last respects

The captain lowers the yellow with three red stripes( South Vietnam no longer exists) flag, two people try to kill them selves because of that, for Hatheir pain is nothing compared to brother Khoi's. Ha takes her brother Khoi to the other side of the boatand takes his chick with her dolland puts them in her mother's handkerchiefand throws them into thesea.

one engine

One of the ship'sengines goes out, Hà's mother is afraid because their punishment will be horrifyingfor trying to escape if theCommunists find them. The ship goes forward, but rations are cut dangerously low because the boat moves so slowly, and now they get half of what they used to get from food and water.

the moon

Out on the deck at night, Hà and her mother look up at the moon while others wash and pee, thinking that maybe her father is looking at the moon too, Ha feels guilty for not thinking about him for a long while.

a kiss

One day, another ship pulls up close to the refugee ship Hà is aboard, and while the ships "kiss," they transfer food and water from the American ship; everyone's spirit's liftday, another ship pulls up close to the refugee ship Hà is aboard, and while the ships "kiss," (as Ha says)theyreceave food and water from the American ship; everyone's happy, and they are safe.

golden fuzz

Finally Ha and her family get to ride ona motorboat that will take them to the '' black dot '',a white sailor helps them getinto the boat, and when Hà sees his blonde arm hair that looks like gold, shepulls one hairfrom his arm, which gets her into trouble with her family,but the man just laughs it off.

tent city

The island they stay on is calledGuam no one is able to say that name but brother Quang, who is a translator for everyone, there are other refugees thatalready livethere,everyone gets canned food but it's disgustingfor Ha and her familyso they only eat the canned fruit.

life in waiting

Just like anywhere, people need a routine to cope with difficulty, so on the island, everyone practices English and watches Western movies. Brother Vuis got all thegirls's attentionby watching him break wood.

nuoc mam

Fish sauce( and brother Vu)save the day—because it is a staple (like ketchup in the U. S.), for the people on the island, they put it in and on everything. Ha's breath smelled bad for days, but she didn't care it was verydelicious to her.

amethyst ring

In order to buy things they need, Hà's mother wants to sellher ring that her husband boughtfrom America. Hà's brothers all say no, though, and that the stuff they'd get in return for it isn't as valuable as love


Big decision time: Hà's motherhastochoose where they are going to go, sheturns down Uncle Son when he told her to come withthemto Canada, because she thinks his wife would be upset thet for some reason. But when a man behind her tells her that there are more chances for a better lifein the U.S.A., she makes up her mind.

another tent city

In Florida, Hà's family camps out for a long time. They cannot leave until an American family volunteers to take care of them, and their family is too big to be easily taken in, Hà doesn't mind, though, because she enjoys swimming and running around in Florida. Finally they learn that they should have written down that they are Christian on their application form, so they did.


Right away, a man comes looking for a boy to help him in his car shop. He only wants to take one young man with him, but Hà's mother cries and stubbornly won't let Brother Quang go without all of them.

our cowboy

The sponsor they get looks just like an American cowboy, Hà likes him right away, imagining what his personality will looklike.


What is theme of Inside Out and Back Again? ›

Inside Out & Back Again is the story of Ha, a ten-year old girl who leaves war-torn Vietnam and immigrates to the United States. We chose this novel for its thoughtful exploration of some important social and emotional themes: culture, war, bravery, friendship, bullying, loss, and resilience.

Why did Ha's mother and father move south? ›

Mother and Father came south, convinced it would be easier to breathe away from Communism.

Who is Miss Washington in Inside Out and Back Again? ›

Washington is Hà's neighbor and an all-around wonderful woman who takes Hà under her wing, becoming her tutor and supporter. She advocates for Hà, and is a friend of the whole family by the end of the book.

How is Vũ treated by others at school how is his response different from Ha's? ›

How is Vu treated by others at school? How is his response different from Ha's? Vu got called names and almost got tripped but fought back. Ha tries to ignore the people who make fun of her.

Who is the pink boy in Inside Out and Back Again? ›

The antagonist of the novel, Pink Boy is a boy in Hà's class. She never learns his real name. He has pink skin and white hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows, and he's cruel to Hà from the moment Hà arrives.

What did Mother leave behind in Inside Out and Back Again? ›

Their shrinking food supply prompts Mother's decision to leave, and she sews each of them a satchel in which to carry a few possessions. Photographs, mementos, and Hà's beloved papaya tree must stay behind.

How does Ha finally defeat pink boy? ›

Brother Khoi has a plan, though, involving Hà's friends distracting the bullies, but it doesn't work and Pink Boy chases after Hà anyway. When he confronts her and tries to punch her, she uses her super martial arts moves to get out of his way, and he falls, defeated by wit.

What is the theme of Inside Out story? ›

A central theme of Inside Out is the consequences and portrayal of emotions and memories. Those depicted in the film are "honest" and "generous"; their goal is maintaining Riley's life. Natasha Moore of the Australian ABC News detailed the film's theme: "[If] Riley's carefree life gets more complicated, [...]

What are the 2 major themes in Inside Out? ›

Education Articles & More
  • 1) Happiness is not just about joy. ...
  • 2) Don't try to force happiness. ...
  • 3) Sadness is vital to our well-being. ...
  • 4) Mindfully embrace—rather than suppress—tough emotions.
Jul 14, 2015

What is the poem Inside Out and Back Again about? ›

From Saigon to Alabama, Inside Out and Back Again is the story of a year in the life of Hà, a ten-year-old girl who flees Vietnam with her mother and brothers, in hopes of escaping the Vietnam War and building new—and safer—lives for themselves in the United States.

What is the moral lesson of Inside Out? ›

Inside Out reminds us to embrace the wholeness of ourselves, give ourselves permission to not be “okay,” and that we have to give those around us a chance to work through their emotional realizations. It's not about trying to avoid uncomfortable feelings but rather go towards them to get honest with ourselves and grow.

What are the 5 emotions in Inside Out? ›

The main character in the movie is 11 -year-old Riley who, along with the 5 emotions of Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger & Fear, works to navigate her life journey. Together with her emotions she and Inside Out teach some critical life lessons.

What is the main problem in Inside Out? ›

SPOILER ALERT: In Inside Out, the primary conflict is between Joy and Sadness. It seems like Sadness is ruining everything. Joy didn't want to Riley to be unhappy. What she didn't realize, was how important it was for Riley to experience all emotions, particularly Sadness.


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