Literature, Language, and Life

Applying Lodge’s Literary theory to Paradise of the blind. (updated)


‘’Other narrative forms, such as epic, and other media, such as film, can tell a story just as well, but nothing can equal the great tradition of the european novel in the richness, variety and psychological depth of its portrayal of human nature’’. Here Lodge states how important introducing a character really is.‘’Yet character is probably the most difficult aspect of the art of fiction to discuss in technical terms’’. Here Lodge states that with introducing characters being most vital in explaining a story, it is also the most difficult task. This is due to the reason that their are many different types of characters and different ways of representing them,’’major characters, minor characters, flat characters, round characters.’’ Lodge also says that ‘’The simplest way to introduce a character, common in older fiction, is to give a physical description and biographical summary.

In Paradise of The Blind, the main character Hang is introduced and in the beginning of the book given a brief physical description as a flat chested girl who looks ‘’as white a woman after giving birth. But this was all that was said in the beginning, as Lodge stated ‘’Modern novelists usually prefer to let facts about a character emerge gradually’’. This has been the case with Hang, as later on in the book, when she arrives at the train station to go back to Moscow another physical description of her is given as pale young woman with a lost, worried expression and stooped shoulders. As Hang gets into the train, she begins to have flashbacks of herself as a child. The description of the flashbacks are very sad and depressing. The description of the land reform policy that affected many families in Vietnam is shown through the eyes of Hang, who on the journey back home (Moscow) begins to visualize the events that her mother had told her about. The reader is forced to see the story through Hangs perspectives against the land reform policy or the communists that were leading Vietnam at that time. Hang is viewed from other characters as a very worn out, tired and homesick girl. Lodge also states that ‘’Clothes are always a useful index of character,class, life-style’’.This also has been clearly shown, as the standard of living in Vietnam at the time was very low. P.13 ‘’I saw the roof of the shack in Hanoi where my mother worked. Sheet metal patched together with tar paper, on rainy days the roof leaked, in the heat of the summer the acrid smell of tar was overpowering. ‘’Children played in filthy black water, sailing their white paper boats.


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