3. What are some of the challenges and pressures Thao and Sue have to deal with as second-generation immigrants?
Growing up as the child of parents who immigrated to the United States can be a challenging experience. Parents often put intense pressure on their children to succeed in the United States, which many see as a land of opportunity compared to the country they left behind. Those same parents may know only fragmentary English while their offspring quickly become fluent, forcing the children to take on grown-up responsibilities when the parents need to interact with the world outside the family.
2. How do we see oppression of the Hmong people in this film? What has the film taught you about the Hmong people in the USA?
Despite the warm reception the film is receiving among many in the Hmong community, the depictions of the Hmong characters in “Gran Torino” are closely aligned with stereotypical representations of Asian Americans. Sue and Thao Lor, part of the family that live next door to Kowalski and most of the members of the Hmong characters in the film, are depicted as people who are unable to care for and protect themselves and thus desperately need Kowalski’s intervention.