Literature, Language, and Life

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Duration [final] / Zahra W

In paradise of the Blind, duration plays a key role in helping the reader better understand the novel. Duration helps the reader better understand significant parts of the story and helps emphasize great meaning. Duration is overall the time span it takes for a certain event to occur and the amount of time during the event that’s taken place.

Duration can be explained in many ways, for example In chapter 41, Lodge addresses the point that duration is “measured by comparing the time events would have taken up in reality, with the time taken to read about them.” This gives a reader a sense of imagination of what the event is vs. the reality of it. The reason this is significant and applies to the book is because it impacts the narrative tempo, which is ‘a novel that is either fast moving or slow moving’. This time frame influences the story because if something very important has occurred over the span of a few years which is then summarized, it would present an image of overlapping reality vs. illusion of the event. This meaning that if the event occurred and incorporated of a long time span, than it could apply as a symbol of significance which applies to reality. Also, an event that has a short time span that creates an image of rapid illusions.

Lodges points also portray the influence of how time span affects the novel to move rapidly from one crisis to another, giving the reader a sense of suspense. This is due to the short amount of time a conflict takes up, when in reality it is supposed to be much longer than what is presented in the novel. This appears to be very crucial because if a certain event in a book is explained, and other events aren’t, then that certain event would withhold something significant that others don’t. Many examples of this is portrayed in Paradise of the Blind, presenting a greater story with an underlying meaning.

Moving on, examples of this in Paradise of the Blind is on page 101 when Hang states and says, “Spring came and went. Summer passed.” Seasons take up a long period of time to pass by, as well as the changes in weather. However, this long time span was summarized into one sentence which presents that the meaning behind it is either significant or not. The reason for this being is because there could be a hidden underlying meaning that is left unsaid, or something that is not very significant which is why it was summarized. This meaning that there is a greater meaning behind what is left unsaid, and what’s behind the unsaid has the greatest potential of all. However, why is it that this impacts the book, Paradise of the Blind. This impacts Paradise of the Blind greatly because of the effect of duration overall. If the event was expressed much longer in the novel than it would present great meaning with something the readers needed to know. This way, the readers would receive great insight about the significant events and pieces that bring the novel together.

Moving on, another example is when a time shift occurs in both the chapters 11 and 12. The realization of the current events overcome what has happened in the past. There are many pages in chapter 11 that explain the current events, however only a few that represent what has occurred in the past. This signifies the importance of the present and future, leaving out what has happened in the past. The realization of the present creates an image of reality in order to focus on what’s happening now or what’s going to happen in the future rather than dwelling on past events. This is important because what is yet to come is strongly held in both the present and future and hang has come to the realization of reality.

In addition to this, a substantial piece of this novel also relates to what was mentioned above. On page 125, Hang mentions “A year passed”, this meaning that the year wasn’t very important because it was summarized and not a lot was mentioned. This in comparison to the time that Hang visited her uncle out of how selfless she was in order to help him wasn’t very significant. This all presents the underlying meaning that although a year passed by, it doesn’t mean that marks of importance were created. This also causes the reader to be intrigued to figure out whether the part of the chapter is either slow moving or fast moving which is how durations affected this part of the novel as well as others. This can also be compared to other stories, for example an event of a marriage that was 12 years long was summarized into one sentence ‘The affair lasted for twelve years and was considered very successful’. As you can see, an important event was summed up with one sentence, that in reality took a time span of 12 years.

In conclusion, as you can see from what is mentioned, sometimes things are better left unsaid nor explained. Things are better left unsaid at times which signifies the events that have taken place in this novel. The question that remains is that why is it known that when an event is summed up, it doesn’t appear to be very significant. What if there is a story behind the truth, and it was thought to be that the truth is better left unsaid. There could be a whole another story that leads into the dimension of ambiguity leaving the reader to think about why certain things were left unsaid or when events moved rapidly with no sense of explanation. This leads to the point that sometimes things are left unsaid because in the end, the lies will always cover the reality and truth. Duration also has the power to present the significance of this by letting the readers decide whether parts of the novel are either slow moving or fast moving based on the type of event. Thus making the event either a strong influence throughout the story, or not. This is how duration impacts the novel overall, forcing the reader to figure out the truth of the story, and why events rapidly move from one to another or just slow down. This than, creating a tunnel of slow events leading to the events that are rapid, leaving the readers to think about the reality of time and how it is positively or negatively affected.


1 Comment

  1. mehrunh says:

    Your blog is quite insightful in regards to how Huong utilizes duration. As you have mentioned, the seasons contribute to duration as well. I’d like to expand on how weather can prove to be insightful when even the season is mentioned. After reading the book, it can be understood that Hang associates warmer climates with happiness and a sort of nostalgic feeling. This can be proven when she recalls the colorful environment on her childhood trip to the beach and the mysterious purple flowers on duckweed. Hang associates fall with a beauty that colors nature in gold. She appreciates it, yet it is more often seen in Russia than her own country. Finally, winter is portrayed in more negative tones, for example, her stay in Russia. Despite its beauty, the snow has caused Hang hardship and emotional stress when she worked in the textile factory.

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