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The Beginning

In Lodge’s chapter “The beginning” he speaks about how the beginning is the key to the whole novel. The beginning of the novel is what makes a novel great it either makes it or breaks it. In addition to that lodge claims that most novels do not start from chapter one, The story does not start as soon as you open the book.

According to lodge’s point of view he makes a point, he says how most novels can have a setback because the beginning is not connecting with the reader, or the reader is not connecting with the beginning. It’s not relatable. He also then mentions that the beginning of a book does not necessarily mean page one, chapter one. The story can start from, for example chapter two or chapter six. It’s just where the author decides to start the actual story. Whether that be from a flashback, flash-forward whether it’s a blast from the past or a dream.

According to the points that lodge made in previous paragraphs, the author of the novel, “Paradise of The Blind” she, Doung Thu Huong does not start the book from chapter 1 her story starts with the flashback which takes place in the beginning of chapter 2. The character that the story revolves around as a narrator in the novel is often very powerful. In this case the character is named Hang, this is because of the use of hangs first person story flashback. That is where we start to get a sense of what is really happening, and where Doung actually begins the story.

Doung starts it off by giving us some insight about hang’s emotions and how she feels about the situation that she’s having to deal with, which in chapter one is her ill uncle in Moscow. In the beginning of the story hang is described as the village girl where she grew up. She talks about her family, and we come across a mystery of who her father is.  She talks about other children and how they had a good time and had parents around while she didn’t.

She was always stuck in a situation that she shouldn’t have been as a child. As lodge said previously you need to make the beginning relatable and this is what the author of paradise of the blind did. Not only did she say that hang had to deal with a lot of stuff at a young age, she also brought it back to her Vietnamese culture which not everybody understands but  appreciates.  By incorporating the Vietnamese culture we get a better sense of the story and the main characters including Hang and her mother. Because culture is what makes a person, and it helps to understand  who they really are. We get a view of how they treat people. What celebrations they have,  and their morals and values. This better explains the choices that hang makes in the novel later on.

As we said previously the beginning of the novel is the key to the story. If it’s not a good beginning we aren’t going to continue reading the novel. Paradise of the blind had an amazing beginning because it starts off with a flashback of Hang when she was younger and it talks about her mom, the village and her aunt. It has the mystery in the first chapter of what’s going to happen, who is this character.

The first chapter starts with her receiving a telegram from her uncle who is in Moscow very severely ill. Hang is not in Moscow she is miles and miles away working in a textile factory.  We see that hang does not want to go and visit her uncle (mom’s brother) and she is very indecisive about whether she should go or not.

The book is written in flashbacks and you see parts of Hangs life that you wouldn’t have known if the author didn’t start it out that way. The way paradise of the blind is written there is a lot of back-and-forth.  For example in chapter 2 there is a flashback in chapter 6 it’s back to reality. And it’s sometimes hard to sense that change. But because The first chapter was about her with her friend and then in chapter 2 it’s yours for the flashback we know, and sense when the author is writing in flashback or reality.


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