Lodge’s main points on time-shift and Paradise of the Blind interrelate, for the reason that many of Lodge’s views are apparent throughout Hang’s “coming of age” story. First, Lodge gives an excellent example of the Odyssey, which can be perceived as comparable to Paradise of the Blind. Moreover, the Odyssey begins in the midst of the main character’s story and later shifts to his early life similar to how Paradise of the Blind begins in the present but shifts to the past throughout the novel (Lodge 75). Second, time-shift allows the reader to extract examples of irony within sections of the text (Lodge 75). Furthermore, this connects to the many instances of irony throughout the time-shift in the novel, where specific events link to both the past and the present. Third, these connections are portrayed throughout the novel as flashbacks from Hang’s past between the past and the present (Lodge 75).
In addition, it is also frequently presented in Hang’s stream of consciousness, or as a reminiscence of her childhood and young adulthood (Lodge 77). In Paradise of the Blind, the “coming of age” story begins in the 1980s following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. The very first chapter begins on a Sunday morning with the news of Hang’s seemingly ill uncle, which is delivered to the already ill Hang. Hang then makes the decision of staying at home, but the time suddenly shifts to a flashback of her mother’s home. Still, the novel quickly switches to the present, where Hang does not wish to visit her “sick” uncle, but then the passage skips a day later and suddenly she’s on a train to visit him. This is strange, but perhaps the author wishes for the reader to notice the irony of her decision. Following boarding the train, Hang has a series of flashbacks from her mother’s house and marriage to her father, and even from the official end of the war. Succeeding more flashbacks from her grandmother’s past, Hang recalls her mother’s growing madness regarding the husband she lost at the time of Hang’s birth.
Another evident instance of irony through time-shift in chapter two is when Hang’s mother is declared by her annoyed brother as ill with kidney disease but suddenly appears six months later completely healthy. Ironically, the story later refers to Hang’s memory of when her and her mother are visited by Hang’s uncle in chapter six, who suggests that her mother get a job at the factory so that she wouldn’t spoil his reputation. The last and most major shift is in chapter eleven, which involves Aunt Tam’s death, and it may be true that Aunt Tam only cared that Hang fulfilled the bloodline without considering Hang’s personal opinions. Her funeral shifts from sadness and despair to when Hang suddenly decides to sell Aunt Tam’s house, where she has finally accepted reality and has fulfilled her “coming of age”. According to these examples of time-shift regarding the role of women at the time, it can be concluded that male influence was particularly powerful, even though it destroyed the relationship between Hang and her family. Finally, according to Lodge’s main points on time-shift and Paradise of the Blind, it can be interpreted that Hang shifts through her “coming of age” and experiencing flashbacks until the end of her story, in which she learns to face reality and defy her family bonds by selling her aunt’s home.