After exploring David Lodge’s ideas on title, the reader is able to relate his ideas to the title of the infamous novel Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong. Lodge discusses the evolution of titles throughout time, from the beginning of early novels who had titles with main character names, to 19th century novels who had titles with symbolic meaning. Other types of titles include titles who suggest mysterious vibes, set atmospheres, or titles that are matched with literary quotations. After evaluating each type of title the reader is able to identify Paradise of the Blind as a symbolic title due to its intriguing and symbolic meaning.
David Lodge opens up and explains that “the title of a novel has considerable powers to attract and condition the reader’s attention”. When reading the title, Paradise of the Blind, the reader is amused and questions if the title discusses an actual paradise for blind people or is symbolic for something much greater. After reading and understanding the true meaning of the novel, one is able to synthesis that the “Paradise” suggested in the title is a disillusionment, and is in fact the opposite of a paradise. The communist party attempts at creating a utopian society for the people of their nation but in reality only create what is a utopia in their eyes. These leaders can be described as selfish, as they only care to benefit themselves. Uncle Chinuh is a great example of a selfish communist as he states “don’t be selfish you must think of the interests of our class” (Huong 31). There is also an ironic statement directed to russia in chapter eleven saying “back home they think russia is a kind of paradise”, which is exactly what communists in Vietnam believe as well. As for the notion “the blind”, the reference is also to the communist leaders, who are blind to the harm that they are causing their nation. As stated in the translator note of the book “vietnam became a schizophrenic country where people bled white by decades of war, teetering on the edge of starvation, had suddenly to defend themselves against their own leaders, a grasping, hypocritical elite who were blind to their nation’s crisis” (Huong 7).
This displays that the title as presented by David Lodge does have a major impact on the reader’s understanding, and more importantly the power to persuade the reader. The title of the novel Paradise of the Blind clearly depicts this, as it suggests the not so “paradise” that these communist leaders are “blind” to.