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Names in Lodge and Paradise of The Blind

Before enlightening you about Lodge’s works and how it connects with Paradise of The Blind. Here are main points about the description of names in Lodge’s Chapter 2:

  • Don’t let names fool you
  • Names are usually enough to tell you about a character
  • Names are often enough to tell you about a character, names say a lot to who the character is and brings possible history of someone who has the exact name
  • First names are given to us with semantic intent
  • Surnames (last names) are perceived as unjustified
  • Names are never neutral, they signify something

 

The book Lodge had many comparisons and similarities when referring it to Paradise of The Blind. In chapter 2, Lodge explains how character names often tell you about the character themselves. He touches up with brief examples of how we associate names in stories or novels. In chapter 2, Lodge emphasizes the importance of meaning behind each character name. Lodge gives clear statements and assurance of how character names could give the reader clear insight of the true meaning behind the character. Even though Lodge demands that the name of the character has important meaning, he ties in meaning of names in everyday life. He discusses that names are given to us by our parents to create a sense of joy and hope for them. His description of names are all key components in shaping the true meaning of Lodges ideas and beliefs.

 

Connection to Paradise of The Blind

Throughout the story, there were various characters and names given/ introduced. These names all had important and significant meaning in shaping the plot. The names introduced were not at random, instead they were all given to define something or portray what the character would act like. Although the reader did not notice it, they played important roles in shaping the story.

For example:

The main character Hang, Hang in vietnamese means moon. The moon represents the light in darkness, peace, and prosperity. The moon being a symbol of independence reflects dramatically on the character Hang is. Whatever Hang says to the reader, the reader believes due to her history and perspective. The moon has multiple phases such as new, waxing crescent, first quarter, waning gibbous, full, etc. Not only does the moon change phases but also controls the tides. All of these phases of the moon seem to play a role in the true identity of Hang. For example, in the book Hang states that, she is going to “sell the house and leave all this behind.” Once have done that, Hang would soon live her independent life and only having the memories to cherish.

Que, Hang’s mother, was another important character whose life reflected on the communist rule. Que in vietnamese means, rock or cliff. This is not any ordinary name, the symbolism behind it means that Hang’s mother was a cliff hanging on the edge, either with society or family relations. She did as the authority would do. Que is known for her certain strength, whether it being through family issues or personal/emotional struggles.

Aunt Tam, another important character, represented her capitalist ideals and ways around the corrupt economy. Tam in vietnamese means heart. This should the democracy and heart that Aunt Tam had. Aunt Tam was known for her way of doing things. She acted upon loyalty. And because of her actions, they lead to rightful doings. These actions all reflected on the true character she was.

Uncle Chinh, who sent Hang the telegram, played vital roles in the story. Chinh in vietnamese means righteousness and correctness. The true definition of his name is ironic because he thought he was doing the right thing, but clearly he wasn’t. In the story, Uncle Chinh was a communist general who distributed land equally among the citizens of Vietnam. Uncle Chinh is portrayed as very straightforward and close minded.

Finally, the last important character is Ton. Ton is Hang’s father in the story. Ton in vietnamese means priceless. This being her father’s struggle throughout the story and his journey in trying to keep his family together and happy were priceless doings. Even though the outcome of Ton was saddening, what he left behind to the reader was priceless. This ties in with the true and definite definition of his name.

The conclusion that can be made is that, Lodge’s viewpoint of character names do play important roles in shaping and creating the character. The knowledge shared is that each name has a specific meaning, the names created in a story are not ordinary, but with specific meaning behind it.

Omar Hemmings


4 Comments

  1. Laith jr. says:

    I agree with the points you made and the examples you have given. Names are very important and can give you excellent insight on characters and their roles in the novel. Hang meaning the moon is a very good example for Hang goes through many changes or “phases” on her journey to Moscow as the moon changes with time. With this information you are able to see what kind of character Hang will be.

  2. rawan_n says:

    Job well done! I truly enjoyed learning the meanings of the Vietnamese names. It helped me understand the characters better and each of their roles in the story. In particular, learning the meaning of the name Que and the symbolism behind her character truly highlights her strength. Thank you for sharing!

  3. kayalkennaz says:

    Great work with the names! It is really extraordinary to see the level of thought put into this novel. To say the characters names give insight into who they are and their personality is brilliant! I also wanted to note that when you said the mother, Que, meant strength it reminded me of her strength with Chinh, her brother. He forbids Que from speaking to her husband, Ton, because his family are landlords and “enemies” to communism. So Ton flees. Chinh later becomes ill and Que sacrifices a lot, so much that she and Hang starve, in order to provide money for the medicine he needs. I think that shows an enormous amount of strength for Que’s part because he took away the love of her life and still she sacrifices everything for his well being. Also, as for Tam being the heart. When the Rectification of Errors comes to the village, Que is a target for vengeance because Chinh is her brother and he caused all the denunciations and confiscations. However, Aunt Tam protects her. She was loyal and brave and it reflected her true character. Fantastic work!

  4. rawan_n says:

    Job well done! I truly enjoyed learning the meanings of the Vietnamese names. It helped me to better understand the characters and the role each of them plays in the story. In particular, learning the meaning of the name Que and the symbolism behind her character really highlights her strength. Thank you for sharing!

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