Jeffire 1

John Jeffire

English 10, 4th Hour

Mr. Bellamo

8 Nov. 2001

 

A Picture Worth a Thousand Scars:  The Incredible Life of Kim Phuc

 

“It was the fire of the bombs that burned my skin.  It was the skill

                        of the doctors that mended my skin.  But it took the power of

                        God’s love to heal my heart.”

                                                                                    --Kim Phuc (qtd. in Chong 369)

 

            The face cries out in pure suffering.  Her young mouth is open, but even in the two dimensional world of photography her cry makes one shudder.  Her frail arms lift slightly from her sides, as if she doesn’t know what to do with them, as if there is no place to put them that does not amplify the pain cutting through her.  Beyond lean, her skeletal body begs milk, rice, or anything to sustain it.  But hunger is nothing compared to her present agony, which is joined in an echo of grief from the young boy just ahead of her on the dirt road.  Their bewildered faces look for some explanation, some comfort, some end to this ordeal.  Two other children are equally dazed, having just emerged from the cloud of destruction roiling angrily behind them.  Two armed, helmeted soldiers seem not to notice the girl, seem unmoved by the suffering of children, any suffering at all.

            For most people, the above image is a nightmare best left to dreams.  For Kim Phuc, however, the image is a reality that she almost did not live through after napalm burned over 70 % of her body during a 1972 bombing in the Vietnam War (Schultz 1).  The image was captured on film by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Nick Ut, whose startling photo of Kim just moments after the bombing “was printed on front pages of newspapers all over the world...[and] became part of our collective conscience” (Bayin 2).  The photo spoke to people of every race, creed, and color, and it spoke of the

                                                                                                                                                                                        Jeffire 2

devastation of innocent life that comes with war.  As George Esper has said, the picture of Phuc “captures not just one evil of one war, but an evil of every war” (Chong xiii).  Phuc, though, is more that just the image of herself as a nine year old enduring the most unimaginable pain.  This amazing woman has survived war, hardship, and tremendous challenge to spread a universal message of peace and forgiveness in the most trying circumstances.

        Phuc’s story began in the tiny south Vietnamese village of Trang Bang.  She was born in 1963 into a very hard-working and loving family, and her name literally means “happiness” (Chong 9).  The happiness of her youth, however, was shattered as the Vietnam war crept closer and closer to her village….   

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

                                                                                                                                                                                        Jeffire 5

Works Cited

 

Bayin, Anne.  “Kim Phuc:  The Power of an Image.”  CBC News—Indepth (2001):  1-5.

 

            5 Nov. 2001 http://www.cbc.ca/news/indepth/kimphuc/.

 

Chong, Denise.  The Girl in the Picture:  The Story of Kim Phuc, The Photograph, and

the Vietnam War.  New York:  Viking, 2000.

 

The Deerhunter.  Dir. Michael Cimino.  Perf. Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Christopher

 

Walken, and John Savage.  1978.  Videocassette.  MCA Universal, 1986.

 

“Kim’s Story:  The Road from Vietnam.”  Films Transit International (2000):  1-3.  5

 

            Nov. 2001 <http://www.filmtransit.com/kimstory.html>.

 

Schultz, Connie.  “Napalm Victim Says ‘God Used Me that Day’.”  Smyth County News

 

            & Messenger:  1-3.  5 Nov. 2001 <http://www.smythnews.com/980606/I-

 

Articles/re-1.htm>.

 

OTHER METHODS

 

Question

Who is Kim Phuc?  For many, she will forever be the young Vietnamese girl who was photographed just seconds after her body was bathed in napalm and she had begun to run, trying to escape the unimaginable pain seizing her body.  While this famous image is ingrained forever in the minds of those who have seen it, Kim has become much more than “the girl in the picture” that opened the eyes of the world to the suffering and brutality that was taking place in Vietnam (Chong 355).  She has triumphed over her injuries and courageously used her experience to educate the world and try to make sure that no child today suffers as she once did.  This amazing woman has survived war, hardship, and tremendous challenge to spread a universal message of peace and forgiveness in the most trying circumstances.

 

Fragment

            Shock.  Pain.  Fear.  These sensations and more flooded the frail body of nine-year-old Kim Phuc in 1972 when her village in Vietnam was bombed.  She was photographed just seconds after her body was bathed in napalm and she had begun to run, trying to escape the unimaginable pain seizing her body.  While this famous image is ingrained forever in the minds of those who have seen it, Kim has become much more than “the girl in the picture” that opened the eyes of the world to the suffering and brutality that was taking place in Vietnam (Chong 355).  She has triumphed over her injuries and courageously used her experience to educate the world and try to make sure that no child today suffers as she once did.  This amazing woman has survived war, hardship, and tremendous challenge to spread a universal message of peace and forgiveness in the most trying circumstances.

 

Epigraph/Question

                        “It was the fire of the bombs that burned my skin.  It was the skill

                        of the doctors that mended my skin.  But it took the power of

                        God’s love to heal my heart.”

                                                                                    --Kim Phuc (qtd. in Chong 369)

     Who is Kim Phuc?  For many, she will forever be the young Vietnamese girl who was photographed just seconds after her body was bathed in napalm and she had begun to run, trying to escape the unimaginable pain seizing her body.  While this famous image is ingrained forever in the minds of those who have seen it, Kim has become much more than “the girl in the picture” that opened the eyes of the world to the suffering and brutality that was taking place in Vietnam (Chong 355).  She has triumphed over her injuries and courageously used her experience to educate the world and try to make sure that no child today suffers as she once did.  This amazing woman has survived war, hardship, and tremendous challenge to spread a universal message of peace and forgiveness in the most trying circumstances.

 

 

Quotation

          “It was the fire of the bombs that burned my skin.  It was the skill of the doctors that mended my skin,” recalls Kim Phuc, the victim of a napalm attack during the Vietnam War.  “But it took the power of God’s love to heal my heart” (qtd. in Chong 369).  For many, Phuc will forever be the nine-year-old Vietnamese girl who was photographed just seconds after her body was bathed in napalm and she had begun to run, trying to escape the unimaginable pain seizing her body.  While this famous image is ingrained forever in the minds of those who have seen it, Kim has become much more than “the girl in the picture” that opened the eyes of the world to the suffering and brutality that was taking place in Vietnam (Chong 355).  She has triumphed over her injuries and courageously used her experience to educate the world and try to make sure that no child today suffers as she once did.  This amazing woman has survived war, hardship, and tremendous challenge to spread a universal message of peace and forgiveness in the most trying circumstances.

 

RETURN