What are Ha's character traits in Inside Out and Back Again?

Ha's character traits in Inside Out and Back Again include tenacity, bravery, and cleverness. She can also be described as shy and understandably nervous, given her family's circumstances.

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The first thing we learn about Ha is that she loves her mother greatly. Mother has been raising Ha and her siblings on her own, since Father left on a Navy mission years earlier and has not been heard of since.

The second characteristic of Ha that I will mention is her tenacity. Through everything that the family goes through—from being forced to leave Vietnam, enduring a difficult voyage to the island of Guam, and ultimately beginning a whole new life in Alabama, Ha never gives up, even though there are moments when things are really tough for her. While she is incredibly nervous about starting school where she will know no one and be in a completely unfamiliar environment, she has the courage to go and to stick it out—even when things prove to be every bit as difficult as she predicted.

When she is bullied by some mean kids at school, rather than lash out at them, she resolves to learn English so she can talk back to them. After some time, she learns the right words and gets Pink Boy's friends to start tormenting him rather than her. This shows that Ha is smart as well as courageous.

There are times when Ha's behavior may come across as mean and defensive, but I would argue that these are not character traits of hers but rather her reaction to circumstances in which she feels out of control.

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The primary character trait that Ha possesses is tenacity. She does not give up, even though she often feels weak. She is also basically optimistic; her hope sometimes dims, but she tries hard to look toward the future rather than regret the past. In addition, she is flexible. In countless situations, she feels uncomfortable but then realizes she must adjust her attitude if she is to survive and thrive.

Numerous other traits that she exhibits change during the course of the novel. We understand that she is a compassionate person, as indicated by giving her grieving brother her doll. However, she can also be cruel, as she sometimes bullies her new classmates. The fact that she succeeds in adjusting to a new country, language, and school are all indications that her behavior was strongly affected by her fear and apprehension. In the long run, her tenacity and flexibility helped her adjust.

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Ha is the main girl in the book Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai. Together with her family, Ha is forced by the ongoing warfare to emigrate from Vietnam to America.

Ha is depicted in the story as a loving and caring person. This is evident in the scene in the ship where Khoi’s dead chick is found and taken away from him. This makes him so sad. Ha, noticing her brother’s pain, holds his hand and takes out her “mouse-bitten doll," wrapping its arms around the dead chick before tossing it into the sea. The doll was pretty much her only personal belonging, but to show solidarity with her brother, and to share in his loss, she chooses to throw it into the water together with the chick. As if that was not enough, Ha wraps the arms of her doll around the chick in a manner that suggests she loves and cares for the thing her brother loved so dearly.

Ha is also presented as a feisty individual. She likes to feel smart and to compete, but when things do not go as expected, she does not let things slide. For example, when her brothers, who are relatively bigger than her, tend to annoy her, she does not let it just slide. She illustrates this in the following humorous quote:

“I can’t make my brothers go live elsewhere, but I can hide their sandals.”

This clearly shows that she is determined to outwit her brothers, despite their greater physical strength. Bearing in mind the fact that each of the brothers possesses only one pair of shoes, we can see how this scheme turns out to be quite painful to them. This trait of feistiness is also evident when Ha goes to the blackboard and does a problem for Pink Boy, a boy who is not good with numbers and is fond of harassing her; this shames Pink Boy in front of the entire class.

Ha is also portrayed as hardworking and determined. When she first moves to Alabama, she does not know English. Thus, when Pink Boy and her friends follow her home and hurl insults at her, she does not comprehend what they mean. As a result, she resolves to learn English so that she can get back at her persecutors some day. Hence, through her determination to know the language and the training she gets from Miss Washington, she is able to learn the language, which enables her to understand whenever Pink Boy and her friends insult her. Further, her determination is evident when she continuously pleads with her brother Vu to teach her the fly-kick so that she can defend herself from her persecutors. Eventually, she is able to stand up for herself by shouting back at Pink Boy, and at one point, she even manages to dodge when Pink Boy tries to strike her, causing him to hurt himself in the process.

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