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David Lodge’s chapters discussed Symbolism in one of his chapters. “Anything that stands for something else is a symbol, but the process operates in many different ways. A cross Crucifixion, and a road intersection in another by diagrammatic resemblance. Literary symbolism is less easily decoded than these examples, because it tries to be original and tends towards a rich plurality, even ambiguity, of meaning.”

This statement expressed by David exhibits some relevance into The Paradise Of The Blind because the whole book symbolizes communism that incorporates the theme of hypocrisy and failure. It is quite frankly Literary Symbolism displayed in a form that presents a stance on those symbols in The Paradise Of The Blind. Communism can be seen symbolized in the character of Chinh in many provided examples throughout the novel, but the Bohemian shows the heart of communism in just by an important quote to show the communism induced by the novel which is “They decreed their thousands of rules, their innumerable edicts, each one more draconian than the last. But, in the shadows, they paddled around in the mud, without faith or law.” Again, displays where communism is most dominant in Vietnam.

Another way that I can see how it does provide relevance is with the food symbolism which is sufficiently present throughout the novel and a recurring topic. Food symbolizes the varying change with Hang’s wealth and other characters in the novel. The roof is continuously brought on to symbolize the feeling shown in Hang’s mother which is the desire she has for her brother Chinh for him to give her acceptance. Finally, the light gives Hang a source of relief within escaping pain and etc. The examples provided shows relevance to another statement provided by David which is “ Somebody once said, however, the novelist should make his spade a spade before he makes it a symbol, and this would seem to be good advice for a writer who is aiming to create anything like the illusion of life. If the spade is introduced all too obviously just for the sake of its symbolic meaning, it will tend to undermine the credibility of the narrative as human action.” This point grants relevance to The Paradise Of The Blind because it doesn’t give out the symbols that easily, and makes the reader run to try to read behind the lines and to understand the characters better which would provide them with an analysis of how the symbols play out into the reading and what place does it own to show true meaning of the symbols implemented through the novel. “The poetic style known as Symbolism, which started in France in the late nineteenth century in the work of Baudelaire, Verlaine and Mallarme, and exerted considerable influence on English writing suggested meanings without a denotative core.” I do agree that Symbolism is suggested meaning without a denotative core and is carefully placed into The Paradise Of The Blind when the title offers a symbol itself and irony is displayed as well within the title. This novel doesn’t possess paradise itself and there is no characters placed in the novel which that are blind. It is the Communist leaders that believe of having ruled a place within paradise and they are blind to the fact that it is not and they are failing. Furthermore, presented to the reader the symbolism behind the title and the role it has on the rest of the novel without a denotative core.

1 Comment

  1. rawan_n says:

    Thank you for your wonderful work applying symbolism in the novel “Paradise of the Blind.” I found it very interesting when you wrote that Uncle Chinh was presented as a symbol for communism. His stance on communism is obvious throughout the novel, but I would have never associated his character with symbolism, so I really appreciated that point you made.

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