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Duong Thu Huong writes Paradise of the Blind intending to expose the poor workings and of Communism and demonstrate the adverse effects felt by the people effected.

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Introduction

Duong Thu Huong writes Paradise of the Blind intending to expose the poor workings and of Communism and demonstrate the adverse effects felt by the people effected. Huong's sees that Hang's self discovery and acceptance of her dissatisfaction with life heavily characterises the novel's final passage. By the end of the passage Hang has come to terms with her place in her Vietnamese culture deciding she will 'leave all this behind'. Huong establishes this decision through the use of contrasting natural imagery. The characterisation of the man who visits Hang act as a metaphor for a tainted Vietnam and subsequently allows her to gain greater knowledge of herself. The author then creates the feeling of hope as Hang moves forward from the looming 'shadow' that is her culture, her family and responsibility in the final passage. Huong employs natural imagery in the final passage to bring focus and show contrast between Hang's past and present, while simultaneously aiding the decisions of her future. ...read more.

Middle

The author characterises the man like that of Vietnam, or at least how Hang feels towards it. She comes to realises through this mans presence 'what had suffocated her' as she see that her hostility towards the man was perhaps unwarranted, and that 'he wasn't guilty of anything'. She then states that 'his ugliness was only a cipher, the key to [her] own despair', suggesting that the 'cipher' is in fact Vietnam, realising that perhaps Vietnam and Communism that is responsible for her 'despair'. Despite Hang's epiphany, it is clear that she is not completely bitter towards her country, acknowledging that 'somewhere in [her] heart' she 'was always grateful to him'. Through the characterisation of the man Hang's personal development is seen as she feels her 'body tense with anger'. Not allowing herself to be walked over any longer she stands her ground announcing she would 'not [be] selling'. This shows how much she has achieved personally, showing belief in herself. ...read more.

Conclusion

While Paradise of the Blind can be seen as a political statement, it still holds true to a powerful story about the pressures of family and culture. Through this personalised story of a young girl the reader sympathises with Hang and her struggles. In the final passage of the novel a combination of naturalistic and symbolic imagery as well as characterisation are used to impact the reader and contribute to ones understand of Hang and her development from the novels start to end. Huong creates the man who visits Hang to symbolise the communist tainted Vietnam she has returned to. The contrast of beauty and ugliness is used to highlight some of beauty of Vietnam and it's culture and the results of communism. Although some beauty is expressed the reflective tone of the narrator ensures that when Hang makes the decision to not 'squander her life' the reader is filled with a sens of hope. This hope is amplified by Hang's choice not to see 'time passing' but to act, perhaps even make 'the stars quiver'. Catherine Durham ...read more.

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