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.