We're expected to support our husbands make sure they're taken care of so they can do their very important work.". Within Polly’s experience, she sheds light on the unlawful treatment of immigrants within the United States. If you come away from reading The Leavers with a sense of disconnect, that’s no surprise—disconnectedness is its central theme, its structural and stylistic touchpoint, and the emotional engine driving its main characters. As a close friend of Deming’s, the two bond over their similarities to one another. Eventually, he becomes a lab assistant at Columbia University. Her characters are constitutionally adverse to action, her scenes overburdened with exposition, yet a sense of engagement pervades, a soulful sincerity that pulls the reader through. They begin talking on the phone. Instead of gaining access to a proper hearing, Polly is punished for asserting her independence and denied the right to a lawyer or legal counsel. Though they maintain a friendship for many years, that relationship is tested when Deming borrows $10,000 from Angel to gamble. This study guide contains the following sections: This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on While he introduces his son to the world of music, Peter struggles to accept the lack of academic intelligence Deming possess. Because his parents want him to begin classes at Carlough College where they teach, Daniel returns to Ridgeborough; however, at the end of the summer, Daniel is thrown out of the house for having continued to gamble and for failing to have repaid Angel her $10,000. After becoming separated from Deming at a young age, Michael continues to focus on his academics. Where that real home was, however, was no longer certain. 56, Internal Migration and Internally Displaced Peoples, A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers. We strive to be a platform for marginalized voices and writing that might not find a home elsewhere, and to lift up new voices alongside those of more established writers we love. Ten years later, Deming Guo is only a memory. Throughout her journey of self-discovery, Polly battles with remaining true to herself and assuming the customs of her Chinese heritage. He further battles between embracing his dual identity as a immigrant and American citizen. And it’s here that The Leavers seams begin to show: her thoughts range freely across continents and decades, yet she manages to maintain a near-coy core of silence about the reason for her disappearance. As the main protagonist of The Leavers, Deming struggles to adjust to life in America upon the sudden disappearance of his mother Polly. The next day, the nail salon is raided and Polly disappears. While she maintains some regrets about lying to Deming and giving him up for adoption, she feels her decision was the only option under these unfortunate circumstances. He and Angel bond. Though his relationship with his son collapses when Deming drops out of college to pursue a music career, he rebuilds his bond with Deming upon his return from China. Beginning with Polly, although her physical home was in Fuzhou, her true sense of home developed when she migrated to America. As the sister of Leo and mother of Michael, Vivian resides in the same apartment as her brother, Polly, and Deming. As the husband of Polly, Lin helps Polly to move forward from her past and build a successful business for herself. When Michael, his long-ago Bronx pseudo-sibling, attempts to track him down, it takes him months to reply. It’s a comfortable life for Deming, who finds a father figure in Leon, forges a brother-like bond with Michael, and benefits from Vivian’s auxiliary maternal presence. Though she tries to overcome her financial woes, the American legislation places Polly in a unfair bind. Already awarded the PEN/Bellwether Prize for “socially-engaged fiction,” The Leavers stands firmly as Lisa Ko’s act of arrival. One morning she leaves for Hello Gorgeous, the nail salon where she works as a manicurist, and never returns. This income helps us keep the magazine alive. Résumé détaillé par chapitre. Despite the love he has for both Polly and her son, he marries another woman and pursues a new life entirely. In his place is Daniel Wilkinson, the adopted son of Kay and Peter Wilkinson, raised in Ridgeborough (population 6,525) in upstate New York. She migrated from place to place, until she could reach that feeling of complacency never stopped. They do not see each other for five years and when Polly’s father passes away, Deming comes to live with her in New York. Eventually, upon learning Deming's discovery of his birth mother, Kay mends her relationship with her son. Together, they pursue the trials and tribulations of adulthood in NYC. ― The Leavers, pg. There, he confronts Vivian, who tells him that she had no other choice and that she paid back Daniel’s mom’s debts after she disappeared. Since both characters view home as a state of being as opposed to a physical place, they constantly seek a feeling of belonging. Lisa Ko’s novel, about the disappearance of an undocumented mother, places an imperfect victim within a cruel system. Though they understand the power of language, Deming and his mother find difficulty in being accepted as non-native English speakers. Through the life of Polly, she reflects a troubling reality about the modern day migration experience. Though he tries to live up to his adoptive parents’ expectations, Deming cannot assimilate himself to the American culture. While they encourage him to achieve a college degree, Deming prefers playing music over learning. He lacks the motivation and academic intelligence to pursue a college career and finds more comfort in his music. In New York City, eleven-year-old Deming and his mother Pelian “Polly” Guo have carved out a marginal yet seemingly stable existence, sharing a Bronx apartment as part of an informally blended family that includes Polly’s boyfriend Leon, his sister Vivian and her son Michael, who’s close to Deming’s age. Soon thereafter, Michael reunites with Deming and decides to live with his old friend once more. After his daughter moves to America and struggles caring for Deming, he assumes the parental rights of her son. After borrowing thousands of dollars in loans to migrate to America, Polly is bound to a life of debt. Leon wants to get married someday, but the couple argues about Polly’s desire to move the family to Florida. But when it comes to telling the young man the truth about her disappearance, he remains cryptic. The distance between then and now felt enormous. She explains how, while living in the small town of Minjiang, Polly got pregnant by her neighbor next door, Haifeng Li. Devastated by this news, Daniel stays in Fuzhou and works at his mom’s English school before deciding to return to New York and trying to make music again. "― The Leavers, pg. At The Rumpus, we know how easy it is to find pop culture on the Internet, so we’re here to give you something more challenging, to show you how beautiful things are when you step off the beaten path.

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