Feminist Literary Theory
Feminist Literary Theory: Feminist gender theory is post modern in that it challenges the paradigins and intellectual premises of western thought. The biological distinction between male/female eventually came to a similar conclusion by theorists , that sexual categories are made up of cultural aspects.
In this novel I found that most of the main characters were females, the implication that could come from this from a feminist perspective is that even though the women aren’t held or put in a position high enough just as equal as men, or aren’t thought of as important, nut to me it shows how important they there from the actions they take in situations thought to be only for men, like they only can handle it, in certain situations the women’s abilities really do come out and in some cases show that females tend to be a little more patient and smart about it then some men which really emphasizes the point that women are capable of doing things just as much as men can.
There was some instances in the novel that I focused on and wanted to go more in depth. First instance is, when uncle Chinh forces Que to leave her work as a vendor and work at a factory, she has no choice but to listen to him since he thinks that working as a vendor is not a job that she should be working for. Also clams he wants what is best for them, best for hang. Que then agrees to please her brother. From a feminist literary point of view, it’s not right for anyone to force anything upon anyone for reasons such as their abilities, desires and comfort also the right to choose what they want willingly.pg 50 Ch.5.
Second instance was when uncle Chinh goes and visits Que and hang and asks for money, his sister Que has to go to the village with hang to get the money for him (his share of the money) but she still goes to the village to get the money even though chinh doesn’t treat her as well. Tends to put other people’s opinion, and thoughts before his family. Ch3 end of pg. 51 beg. Of pg 52. Feminist point of view, the other partner is supposed to put the same amount of effort and willingness onto the other person, being treated equally is important.
Another situation was when Que (hangs mother) sacrifices everything she and hang have to help her brother when e got sick with diabetes. Since he needed American medicine, the money was not enough for both hang and Que to eat. Que is doing this all this for her brother, caring for him , putting him first even before hang, herself when he didn’t put that much thought for them before, he put peoples words opinions first which was not right. From a feminist perspective, what chinh had done was completely wrong on his niece, sisters behalf, he should be treated in the way he treats others. Ch.10 end of pg 177 and beg. Of pg 178.
When Aunt Tam throws a whole banquet by herself for hang, to me it shows that aunt tam is financially stable, inviting almost the whole village including the vice president. i feel like this clashes with the idea that only men can have power, authority, money. This indicates her independence, confidence, and ability to be just as equal to men. End of Ch8 and beg. Of Ch 9 starts pg 140 and beg. Of ch 9 also another thing that I connected was when aunt tam pulled out a wad of money to give to hang. Ch 8 pg 135. From a feminist perspective it really advocates the right amount of independence and confidences to stand alone without a male figure. Which really speaks for itself, she’s able to own and be herself without anyone controlling anything. but her.
From a feminist view: aunt tam is significant because she doesn’t give up and works hard, doesn’t have a have a husband with her to stand by her, take authority.
I really would like to address this topic, which is between aunt tam and uncle chinh wife, who was a philosophy professor and a loyal communist member, in my opinion I feel like aunt tam had more power, and independence because she has been working on herself, bettering herself in becoming more sufficient by herself, working her way up with no male figure around her like uncle chinh wife even though she was a professor, and a member I feel like she always had this figure with her to help her out somehow to get to this point whereas aunt tam worked her way up.
But along the novel hang finds wedding dresses in aunt tams belongings, indicating that she wanted to get married someday but never got the chance to, I feel like the feminist perspective would kind of oppose this idea since she had everything going well for her, financially, emotionally, and physically which didn’t really give her an excuse to marry, since at the time back then women weren’t treated as nice or as equal as they would like. The theme of this novel was kind of explain or kind of give more insight on the life’s back then, I feel like it doesn’t relate to the novel as a whole since the novel really kind of talks about the hardships and the happening at the time of people especially women with the equality problems.
Since the Vietnamese culture and traditions was based on patriarchy, meaning men had all the power and authority over women, it made so much harder on the lives of women, women were taught to be very patient and quiet with situations that could be very harmful to them,, but that to their culture was a real women that could really hold herself in times like this.
When Uncle chinh puts other people’s opinions before his family, like their abilities to do jobs, life’s. in Ch. 5 pg 50, when he says “in our society there are only two respectable types of people, the proletariat and the peasantry “. “ you cannot remain with these parasites’. From the feminist perspective, it’s not right at all because it doesn’t matter what job, or the placement of the job it is as long as it with the ability and comfort zone of the individual then its alright to work whichever job to be able and support yourself.
Communism played a role in this novel, and in uncle chinh duty, communism meant that everyone is equal to another also paid based on their abilities, needs. This was practiced in the Vietnamese culture was made sense in a way but there some confusion in which women weren’t treated as equal they were to be the housewife, taking care of the kids, cooking , cleaning, doing household chores. And men are supposed to go out and work and earn the money, had all the power, control over it.
In conclusion, I wanted to end this with an comment/advice that Que give hang at one point, and it was “A hardship forges a women” this advice really stood out to me while I was reading because the way I interpreted it, this quote for me it meant that “a hardship forges a women” it makes a women stronger in a way that she deals with all these situations and be patient. Well I connected it to Que, the hardships she had to go through to please her brother and her daughter to the point where she kind of forgot herself along the way, I feel like she passed away trying to please both sides which in my opinion didn’t benefit her that much since her brother even treat as well as she treated him. Which makes her stronger in a way in my opinion, because she’s able to hold herself through these situation and be patient enough to overcome it and move on, even when these situations tend to include injustice and cruelty somehow.
- Paradise of th blind. A novel by Duong thu huong .