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Title According to David Lodge In Relation to Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong (Draft)

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.

   -Amina Nouidei


  1. sallykishi says:

    I really enjoyed reading your interpretation of the novel’s title, especially because it highlighted the issues it addressed. It highlighted the division between classes in post-war Vietnam as well as Vietnam’s attempt at creating a communist nation and the magnitude of evils that resulted from the attempt. It is quite ironic that the title does not refer to a paradise. In fact, the world portrayed in the novel is far from any paradise. I found that your statement referring to Uncle Chinh related to my topic, which refers to the characters. I think we can both agree that Uncle Chinh represents those who failed at creating a communist nation and were blind to the horrors of their “utopia.” I think that the title not only persuades the reader and grabs their attention, but also poses as a very strong title that is sure to implant its true meaning deep into readers’ minds. Overall, you did a very well job of clearly interpreting the novel’s title and acknowledging its significance.

  2. yahyaalhussain says:

    I applaud you for writing a greatly well written analysis. I completely agree with you and the reason behind the title of the novel. One point that your analysis helped me better understand was the blind man within the novel. As Hang mentions, there was a blind man whose courtyard was a place of various visits. Hang states that “People who heard of the blind man’s reputation traveled from all over to come here, and sat in the courtyard, waiting their turn. The neighborhood children liked to meet here too; they scuttled about, playing ball and jump rope” (Huong 44-45). It is evident that everyone loved the blind man and his courtyard. In essence, it was a sort of “paradise” to them. After reading your analysis I feel as though there is irony between this character and the title of the novel. Similarly to the blind man, the communist leaders were blind in the actions that they committed. They thought that they were creating a paradise because it was benefitting them. However, in the novel those in the neighborhood were benefitting from the blind man and his courtyard. Whereas, the communist leaders-the blinds, were the only ones that benefitted from their actions.

  3. safahawash says:

    This was a very interesting blogpost to read considering it applied to my train of thought at different stages of my reading. Before reading this book or picking it up, I thought that it would be about a completely different idea and would revolve around an actual perfect paradise that people took for granted. It was very ironic how Huong chose for the words of this title to complete one another. Such as how it was considered a paradise because inhabitants could not see the flaws of their atmosphere- thus they were called ‘blind’. Understanding that this book was originally written for the intended audience to be the inhabitants of post-communist Vietnam is a leading factor to the choice of this title. It could only say so much. Huong could be aiming to raise awareness to the flaws of Vietnamese people which was proven when this novel got banned in the country itself. Again, great job putting this together!

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