Little Dog claims that trauma affects more than just the mind: the body also collapses under the stress. In On Earth we’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong explores the lasting effects of the Vietnam War on his family.He specifically mentions the Tet Offensive, a North Vietnamese attack on South Vietnam in 1968. There are so many sentences I read over and over again. Seven months later, Little Dog stands next to Lan’s bed as she is dying. "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous" August 30th, 2017. Honestly, this is one of the best books I have ever read. Rose couldn’t understand why anyone would want to display and preserve death in such a way. ( Log Out /  At the age of 14, Little Dog works on a tobacco farm, where he meets a boy named Trevor, who is a year older than him. Sitting near Lan in her final days, Little Dog thinks of Trevor. Little Dog is also writing his letter to his mother to “break free,” like the monarch butterflies that fly south every year. It doesn’t matter how Little Dog came to write his letter—what matters is the letter. Rose never returned to school and she never learned to read, which is why she is illiterate. In On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, the author tells the story of a 28-year-old young man writing a deeply intimate love letter to his mother. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Little Dog remembers when he was a boy, just five or six years old, and he hid behind a door in the hallway to prank his mother. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Little Dog’s describes his grandmother Lan as nearly bent in half. It is sublime and beautiful. In his letter the unnamed narrator combines a series of seemingly unrelated memories, events, and musings in an attempt to convey some inexpressible truth. He goes outside and finds the streets alive with celebration, with a stage in the distance where drag performers sing and dance. Little Dog leaves for Hartford immediately, and upon arriving, he heads toward Trevor’s house, but stops because he knows he'll just disturb Trevor's grieving father. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Is a Daring Tale of Queer Love and Pain. On the tobacco farm, Little Dog meets Trevor, a teenager two years his senior and grandson of Mr. Buford, owner of the farm. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. Little Dog states explicitly the purpose of his writing—he wants to go back in time, like to the time at the Virginia rest stop when Rose was shocked to see the taxidermy deer head hanging on the wall between the bathrooms. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. The son knows that chances are slim that his mother, whose grasp of English is limited, will actually read his confessional missive. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is … While near Lan’s village of Go Cong, Little Dog wakes in the night to the sounds of music and laughter. The narrator of “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is known to nearly everyone as Little Dog. The central difference, though, is that Little Dog is writing while his mother is still alive; yet the overarching paradox of the novel is that Rose cannot read so the letter will never reach her anyway. Little Dog once read that those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to abuse their children, and Rose was, and is, coping with her own trauma. Not affiliated with Harvard College. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Summary Ocean Vuong's debut novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is written in the form of a letter from a young Vietnamese American man to his mother. Asking questions central to the American moment, immersed as it is in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. After emigrating to the U.S., Rose marries an abusive man but they later separate. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. It is impossible for Little Dog to talk about Trevor without talking about OxyContin and cocaine. He also remembers Rose trying on a fancy dress at Goodwill, one she likely wouldn’t have reason to wear, and she asked “Do I look like a real American?” She bought the dress anyway. There is such a quiet beauty to his writing. Little Dog is now 28 years old and stands five feet, four inches tall, and he is writing to Rose because there is nothing else he can do but try to write to her. Alexandra Barylski. He lays next to her on the mat on the floor and cries. Rose dries the woman’s foot, and then she hands Rose a $100 bill. It is one of those books that you need to take your time to savour the triumph of such exquisite literary piece. He remembers the first time Rose hit him at just four years old in their small Connecticut apartment. An Amazon Best Book of June 2019:There is an immediacy to On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous that almost feels unique. Rose couldn’t understand why anyone would want to display and … Little Dog states explicitly the purpose of his writing—he wants to go back in time, like to the time at the Virginia rest stop when Rose was shocked to see the taxidermy deer head hanging on the wall between the bathrooms.