Essay on Analysis of Chapters 8 and 9 in Paradise of the Blind

799 Words Sep 29th, 2013 4 Pages
Paradise of the Blind – Chapters 8 and 9
Write an analysis of how Chapters 8 and 9 explore the connection between culture, food and community
The interdependent connection between culture, food and community is pivotal in the demonstration of the importance Vietnamese tradition in Paradise of the Blind. Chapters eight and nine focus on the importance of culture through family particularly evident in the way food acts as an expression of this culture. Food is also used to establish a sense of community, which is an important aspect in the Vietnamese culture.

Food is presented as a direct reflection of a person’s wealth in Vietnamese culture. Limited in other forms of power, women like Aunt Tam can rely on materialistic objects, such
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Hang observes that Aunt Tam “ate almost nothing as if watching me gave her greater pleasure.” Aunt Tam’s sacrifice of her own wellbeing reflects the cultural idea that the strongest link between people is in family. Aunt Tam is willing, even happy to sacrifice her own well-being in order to cater for Hang. This idea of sacrifice can also be linked to the cultural idea of worship and fate, whereby it is believed those who perform good deeds in the present will be rewarded in the future. This idea of selflessness has evidently also affected Hang as she says “I played the part of the successful niece… I smile dutifully at everyone. My lips stiffened into a permanent smile.” Although Hang is obviously uncomfortable, which can be seen through the use of words such as “dutifully” and “stiffened”, she continues to put on a façade of happiness to please her Aunt. This reinforces the cultural idea of the strength of familial ties as well as the importance of sacrifice in solidifying these relationships.

The practice of food preparation establishes a sense of community in the chapter. Food preparation appears to have a rehearsed, methodical quality which is evident in the line “The scene was lively but well-ordered as if all the feverish activity was directed by the iron hand of some invisible conductor.” The simile of the conductor draws a

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