Literature, Language, and Life

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Repetition: Lodge’s ideas applied in ‘Paradise of the Blind’

According to lodge it said to focus on repetition of words and how they can repeat multiple times in short paragraphs. Where he listed two types of words displayed in the novel. Lexical words such as dark, silent, wind was the first type. And the second type was the grammatical words like and, I. I decided to focus on three key points in repetition that held a significant role in the novel. They are memories/incidents, food, and the cripple’s song.

  • There are a few characters in the novel that will help you understand my blog:
  • Main Character: Hang
  • Que: Hang’s Mother
  • Chinh: Hangs uncle
  • Aunt Tam: Hangs aunt (from father side)

Food is something that appears frequently in the novel and we can see it from the first chapter where it has a significant meaning and that it’s a form of human expressions it also conveys the mean of characters’ emotions. An example would be Que working as a street vendor where it quotes “The sound of a pestle crushing crabs for a noodle soup, steam rising from potatoes, the crackling of young rice being roasted to make grilled sticky rice, the smell of Che pudding for the full moon festival each month. Life is all around her, but it was a life that belonged to others” (page 20) Que compares the sounds of life to the sounds of food. It shows her separation from other people due to her lowered financial status. Another example would be Hang and Que visiting her Aunt, Tams exaggerated amounts of food and minor details like the fact that she has multiple bottles and flavors of alcohol to choose from is important as it sheds light on an important character trait, which is her determination and goal of becoming rich. The main character Hang often remembers flashbacks from her past that soon becomes a routine for the reader to get used to. Since the whole novel is based on her point of view. This type of repetition is significant because it relates to feminism. In addition to the narrator trying to make sense of her life, where she talk to herself throughout the novel, which shows some type of internal conflict. An example would be Hang stating “I miss home, something terrible” (page 14) also “I felt chocked with anger” (page 237) Both of these quotes convey to the reader a type of self-recognition of reality. Repetition of the cripple’s song is unique due to its bizarre singer a crippled man. It is significant because it shows Hangs character development throughout the novel. The song goes like this “Hail autumn and its procession of dead leaves, the rows of barren poplars stand silent on the hillside.” (page 111) In the beginning Hang didn’t understand the song lyrics, however later in the novel she develops a perception about it which is leading an unfulfilled life. Where she quotes “you survived life here, but you never really lived it.” (page 235) The song also creates a similar mood of Vietnam specifically the mood in Hanoi, the words dead, barren, and silent convey the lifelessness and oddness in the city. Duong Thu Huong portrayed Hang waking up from a disillusioned  world she’s been living in, and a society that define its norms on females, however she breaks from these chains put on her, and thats how writer shows Feminism at its finest.

-Fatmah Alamoudi

1 Comment

  1. ragadalq says:

    I very much enjoyed reading your post, it opened my eyes on the significance that repetition has, and the role it can play in ones work. I especially enjoyed reading about the point you made when you said that you can purvey a meaning through food. As well as your last statement about feminism in your conclusion.

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