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Home » Uncategorized » The Title: Lodge’s Ideas Applied to Duong Thu Huong’s Paradise of the Blind

The Title: Lodge’s Ideas Applied to Duong Thu Huong’s Paradise of the Blind

According to David Lodge, the first subject that captures the reader’s attention within any novel is the title. The title of a novel can resemble many different things and can also be a representation of the time period in which the novel was written or published. At first, the titles of early English novels were the names of main characters, however novelists later realized that titles could be an indication of theme. In the 19th century, titles became resonant literary quotes. Modernists soon created titles of symbolic or metaphorical meaning, and recently, titles have been that of the whimsical or riddle-like phrases.

One of the trickiest jobs of writing a novel is choosing the title. The title serves as a medium for providing a sharper focus as to what the novel may be about. Titles are carefully thought out and mean more to the author than the reader. Since novels have always been considered as works of art, commercial considerations may affect the publication of titles, and they may even lead them to be changed.

Paradise of the Blind is a novel is which the title is of riddling effect. One may ask, to what extent is the title indicative to the theme? The title is a representation of the disillusionment of a utopian society formed by communism and communist leadership. The leaders assume they are producing welfare to the community; however, they are blind to the true reality of the society. The communist leaders are blind leaders who strive to create a new community that will never function as a beneficiary to the Vietnamese people. People wear themselves out trying to “recreate heaven on earth” (pg. 225), however, they are unaware as to what heaven really encompasses. Even the cripple within the novel cries of a broken heart, he sings of a dream that has yet to be achieved. This dream is a dream of peace and prosperity of his country. Despite his disabilities, the cripple can still sense the unrest within his country.

Not only are the communist leaders destroying the fabric of Vietnamese culture, they are destroying the relationship between the people. In chapter 11, a blind man searching for his daughter confronts Hang. Hang describes him as “a ghost looking for the daughter he had brought into this world, of whose suffering he knew nothing?” (pg. 238) This serves as a reminder for Hangs ruined relationship with her father caused by the ignorant work of communism. Communists are blind to the future and the consequences that come with this new way of living. They promised a paradise, but how can one recognize paradise if they are blinded by their own greed for power?

Shadia Jrab




  1. nadineshihadeh says:

    I utterly agree with the ideas stated in this blog post. The title of any novel totally provides a keen picture to what the novel might be talking about. I additionally agree with how communists are blinded by the future consequences, not realizing paradise. Also, I believe that the titles are often linked with the story’s events, yet sometimes they’re difficult to understand: Some of the novels’ titles are not always apparent and directly interpretive. However, the title is the most important work of any novel; thus, it is often the gravy for the mashed potatoes!

  2. ibtehaljas says:

    Great post! After reading this post, I came to the realization that Duong’s placements of characters, such as the cripple and the blind man, were not arbitrary. The evidence you cited makes me consider: to what extent can the characters of the cripple and the blind man be considered symbolic of the country of Vietnam? As you mentioned, the cripple expresses unrest and distress, which perfectly mirrors the condition of Vietnam under the influence of communism.

  3. kayalkennaz says:

    Love your ending thought! I never understood why the title of the book was “Paradise of the Blind” now I know its really the authors way of berating communism. Initially, I thought the title was about Hang herself. That she was blind to the manipulation of her uncle, as well as her oblivion to her dad.

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