Analysis Of Duong Thu Huong's Paradise Of The Blind

1371 Words 6 Pages
Duong Thu Huong’s Paradise of the Blind, offers an important political criticism of the way the socio-political climate of communist Vietnam creates the conditions that necessitate individuals to abide by strict cultural and political norms. The narrative takes place during the Vietnamese communist transition and tells the story of how Hang, the young Vietnamese female protagonist, navigates this politically tense era with her mother, Que, in an effort to find happiness and fulfillment. However, Que’s brother, Chinh, often impedes Que and Hang’s pursuits of a better life through his overbearing nature and exploitation of his status as the male in the family. Through this, Duong expands the story beyond one that grapples only with the economic …show more content…
Duong portrays Hang as the first woman in her family to prioritize herself instead of her male relatives which offer the possibility of a society that is equitable to women. Throughout the novel, Hang’s education stresses itself as important as she submits to “a new authority: the glory of the Tran family, my father, and grand-father” (101). Duong reuses another rhetorical omission in that the only members of the family that are said to receive glory off of Hang’s pursuance of her education are her father and grandfather, nor her female predecessors. Therefore, when Hang decides to not finish her education and instead gets a job to help her mother, her actions defy embedded standards of needing to bring honor to her forefathers. Furthermore, in the conclusion of the novel, Hang’s decision to sell her family’s ancestral home is a final gesture in severing her ties with her dead forefathers. During this scene, Hang indicates “Hell’s money has no value in the market of life… I can’t squander my life tending these faded flowers, these shadows…” (258), revealing that she must no longer labor for the purpose of her dead ancestors, but for her own personal motivations. Through these events, Hang is able to betray the mainstream narrative of female docility by actively subverting traditional roles and structures …show more content…
Through Duong’s articulation of Que and Chinh’s relationship dynamic, Duong propels an important statement about the impact of female exploitation for the purpose of male privilege while articulating the necessity in change. Duong does this through Hang, a character that does not abide in upholding traditional norms that maintain inequitable hierarchies and instead carves her own path. Through Duong’s characters, not only does she drive a strong thematic message to consider within the novel, but she also thrusts a call to her audience to politically and socially interrogate the immoral institutions around

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