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Introducing a character: Lodges Literary theory applied to Paradise Of The Blind

‘’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 as she see’s herself in the mirror ‘’i see a pale young woman with a lost, worried expression,stooped shoulders, and a cheap maroon wool suit. This allows the reader to understand that Hang, being a young woman with no decent physical appearance is very powerful internally, going through all her weaknesses to visit her family also, she is viewed from other characters as a very worn out, tired and homesick girl.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. Hang’s mother, Que is brought up first when Hang begins to visualize her childhood on the train ride back home.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. She remembers looking at her mother and seeing her bright-white teeth and feeling remorse due to the fact that that was the last trace left of her beauty and youth. But once a neighbor mentions her father (Ton) he is brought up and a clear description of both Que and Ton is given. Que is described as young and said to be the most beautiful girl in the village. She begins to remember stories of her dad Ton. He is brought up as a young man at the age of 26, charming, and educated and is currently working as a teacher but due to his mother’s sickness had requested a transfer and with that being said he is also very caring. The descriptions given to the parents of Hang promises a long and healthy marriage, but that isnt the case, not until Uncle Chinh arrives. One year and two months after Ton and Que’s marriage peace was declared throughout the country and Que had began to wait anxiously for her brother (Uncle Chinh) to return. She had heard that he had become sick and had sick that was as yellow as saffron. When Uncle Chinh does arrive at Que’s house she begins to sob and crumples to the ground. Uncle Chinh demands that Que no longer has any interaction with Ton due to the fact that he is from the exploiting class. 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. 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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