Dawan lives in a village with her family and attends the
village school with her brother Kwai. They sit for a special
examination which offers the best student a scholarship to
study in a City school. They feel and know that with better
education they can help to improve the way of life in rural
Thailand. Dawan wins the scholarship and Kwai comes in
second. She is excited and determined to take up the offer.
However, her father being gender biased is not in favor of her
going to the city. Her attempts to get outside help – cousin
Noi and the chief monk – to convince her father fail.
Grandmother and flower seller, Bao are her biggest
supporters. Eventually, father comes around and allows
Dawan to study in the city. Dawan goes on her journey with
confidence and understanding the responsibilities it entails
 Village where Dawan and family lives
 Village school
 Old wooden bridge over the river
 Marketplace
 Present day
At the break of dawn, Dawan and Kwai watch the sunrise
from the wooden bridge. They talk about the scholarship and
improving the life of the villagers, the rights of the landlords
and tax. Dawan is doubtful of getting the scholarship because
of the practice of gender bias in the village.
In school, the class teachers talks of responsibilities that come
with winning the scholarship and Kwai is upset. Father
expresses disbelief that Kwai is not the winner and refuses to
allow Dawan to study in the city. Cousin Noi discouraged
Dawan from going to the city.
Kwai announces that he is the second place winner and
Dawan appeals that she cannot give up her chance of going to
the City school. Dawan insists on getting a definite rply from
Father but he refuses to do so. He assers in no uncertain words
that he favours Kwai over Dawan going to the City school.
Falling action
Dawan attempts to get the chief monk of the temple to talk to
her father but the chief monk dissuades her from going to the
city. Bao encourages her to move on with her mission against
gender inequality. At the marketplace, Dawan gets into an
argument with Kwai and injures her ankle. They come to an
understanding and Kwai gives his full support to Dawan.
Father knows that Kwai is second place winner. Kwai
gallantly withdraws and Father, is convinced by Dawan
relents and allow her to go for further education. Dawan
leaves the village with a heavy but excited heart. Grandmother
gives her a lotus in a jar and Kwai sings her song as he bids
farewell from the bridge.
Main characters
 Attends the village school and wins a scholarship to
study in City school
 Loving, caring and obedient – close-knit relationship
with family especially Kwai, her brother
 Convinces Father to allow her to study in the city –
strong resolution to do well and return to help the
 Responsible, determined and far-sighted about the future.
 Keen to study in the city and comes in as second place
winner of the scholarship
 Supportive of Dawan going to the city but
disappointed he cannot make it
 Far-sighted about future of villagers and rural life
 Good and intelligent student - well-liked by teacher
 Close family ties - support and love
 Gender inequality
 Ideals
Question on Sing to the Dawn
1. Based on the novel, Sing to the Dawn, how does the main
character’s family reflect the traditional beliefs of rural
Thailand? Give examples with close reference to the text.
2. Based on the novel, Sing to the Dawn, write about what you
enjoy about the story and explain why you would or would
not recommend the story to your friends.
3. ‘A faint heart never won a fair lady’
Explain the meaning of the saying above. Based on the
novel, Sing to the Dawn, explain how far the statement is
true of the text? Support your answer with close reference to
the text.
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