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Chapters

Yasmeen H.

David Lodge’s “The Art of Fiction” gives a selection of short essays and tips as a guide to fiction. One part of his book about fiction is about the importance of chapters in books. The main argument in the chapter was that breaking up long texts into chapters give the reader and the person writing it a time to take a breath. The break up of long texts also play a role in marking significant transitions. He also mentions that they give an expressive or rhetorical effect. Another point that Lodge mentions is how the beginning of a chapter (chapter-headings) entices the reader with the promise of exciting action. Those small chapter headings “give away” just enough information to get the reader hooked but not enough to spoil it completely. One last important point made by Lodge was one about the significance about the last parts of the chapter. Those last couple of sentences are vital to keeping the interest of the reader. All of these suggestions made about fiction can be seen in Duong Thu Huong’s novel, “Paradise of the Blind.”

 

In Duong Thu Huongs “Paradise of the Blind” the long texts are broken up in a way that keeps the readers interest and builds up suspense. The break up of texts, as stated by Lodge, in the book play a vital role in marking shift between real life and flashbacks. The first time we see the shift between real life and a flashback was the transition from the first chapter to the second. In the end of the first chapter Hang’s mother begins to talk about her husband which is continued on in a flashback about him in the following chapter.

Also the idea that the last chunk of a chapter is important since it is the part that makes the reader want to read the next chapter. Just like in the last paragraph of chapter three where Hang says “..tell me about her husband, the father I never knew..” the reader already knows by now that Huong is jumping from flashback to reality so once the reader reads that line they would know that in the next chapter that information about Hangs father would be revealed.

 

The points that were taken from Lodge’s book about chapter divisions were also seen and implemented in Duonge Thu Huong’s “Paradise of the Blind.” Chapters play an important part in Huongs novel since their main role was to separate the present from the past and by doing that cause less confusion and more suspense for the reader.


3 Comments

  1. yasminabus says:

    Having the reader shift from real life to flashback not only makes the reader more curious about the next chapter but also, more interested in the characters past. By having this shift in time, this really helps us understand the characters even more. It also helps us understand some of the characters actions even more throughout the novel.

  2. nehakamalik says:

    Hi Yasmeen! Your observation about how the chapters/ breaks serve as transitions between flashbacks and reality was very keen. When I think about it, it is something that happens! If you could provide more specific instances though where I can see your ideas play out in the novel itself, that’d be great and help me to see it better.

  3. joodalgoraish says:

    The points you brought up in your blog were very interesting and made me see the novel in a different perspective. You provided a lot of evidence on what David Lodge said about chapters. You also gave evidence of chapters in ‘Paradise of the Blind’ but I think more specific evidence from the novel such as quotes would help develop the readers understanding even more. Very interesting topic.

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