In the chapter “Time Shift” by Lodge, Lodge attempts to help the readers understand the essentiality of time shifts in literature. Time shifts help the author grasp the reader’s understanding of the text to a certain point.
Lodge believes that time shifts help authors construct the text so they can prevent the readers from “losing themselves”. Through the use of time shifts writers can create irony in the story for the audience to enjoy. Time shifts are very essential in literature, specifically in novels or short stories because it enable the author to leap from one time zone to the next while he still has the attention from his audience.
The next part of the chapter connects time shifts with different point of views. For example, a first person time shift would be similar to a “flashback” or a “flash forward” as to where a third person time shift would be used to give the readers general background or help the audience come to a realization of something that may have occurred before or after a certain point.
Time shifts played a great role in “Paradise of the Blind” because Hang is constantly talking about her past and present.
There are constant time shifts that take place throughout the novel. Lodge says “ Through time shift, narrative avoids presenting life as just one damn thing after another, and allows us to make connections of causality and irony between widely separated events.” He then continues saying “ A shift of narrative focus back in time may change our interpretation of something which happened much later in the chronology of the story, but which we have already experienced as readers of the text”. What Lodge has said was clearly evident in “Paradise of the Blind” because our interpretation of the texted changed as Hang gave us better insight to her past.
Like “Odyssey”, “Paradise of the Blind” also takes place after the war, but then goes back to the time during the war. Through this irony is formed as well as a developed interest in the text for the audience. In Hang’s case the time shift is more of a reminisces of her past life which leads to her present life. The time shifts in the novel are done in the form of a first person narrative.
After aunt Tam gets sick the times gift begin to slow down until Hang finally reaches her present day. The novel slowly comes to an end after the final time shift. Hang is no longer looking back on her past and begins to focuses on her future.