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Defamiliarization Draft

Defamiliarization is a literary technique used to present something familiar as unfamiliar. By deviating from the conventional ways of representing reality it provokes thoughts and forces the reader to delve deeper into the meaning of what is being shown.

In Paradise of the Blind, the setting is essentialy founded upon the concept of defamiliarization, fron the introductuon of Communism — which is initially a forign and alien concept to Que — to Hangs unpredictably shifting relationship with her mother. Due to their being so many different elements, here is a rundown:
Defimiliarization with:-
  1. Characters
    • Que- A gradual defamiliarization: At the start of the novel the relationship between Que and Hang is extremely close but as the book progresses a subtle rift begins to form and divide the two until at the end the relationship is almost unrecognizable from the  beginning.
    • Aunt Tam- Sudden defamiliarization:
      Hang  experiences certain intervals in which she looks at her aunt Tam and sees her as someone unfamiliar. It’s almost like she ages backwards and is seeing her aunt for the first time once again, but these moments are short-lived and usually afterwards she snaps back into reality.
  2. Concept/situation
    • In the novel a situation as simple as relatives saying goodbye to their loved ones while crying tears of joy at an airport or train station is portrayed through Hangs eyes as grotesque and sad because it shows how any place other then where they are living is good.



  1. noorchughtai says:

    Before reading your blogpost, I was not aware of the concept ‘defamiliarization’ and it’s presence in Paradise of the Blind. Great work! It’s interesting to see how defamiliarization can be demonstrated in several ways as you have stated (Through characters and through concepts/situations). Thank you for the insight!

  2. mehrunh says:

    I acclaim your observations on how characters within the novel become defamiliarized! Huong may also deliver defamiliarization through different rhetorical devices. For example, Aunt Tam is on her death bed and states that the sky is on fire, an unfamilar yet, alarming sort of weather. Of course, Hang only witnesses a blue sky and is shocked with how her aunt could smile while witnessing hell. Hang has often felt distant with her Aunt, yet this instance may be the final moment where Huong tells readers that they may never connect with each other.

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