According to the lodge chapter “coincidence “by David Lodge, coincidence is a major plot device. The use of coincidence in any novel helps with the structure of the plan, as well as the pattern the author decides to create. Coincidence generates fun, and enjoyment in novels. The changes that the author decides to make by coincidence will make the reader connect the dots and solve the puzzle. Coincidence provides epiphany for the reader, that helps him make these connections in the novel. The amount of coincidences in a novel are chosen by the author, however, too many coincidences can ruin the novel. with an increased amount of coincidence comes a decrease in the realism of the novel. The author should think of the coincidence he chooses to put in a novel, also think of the outcome of this coincidence, and how it affects the plot. In the novel “Paradise of the blind” by Doung Thu Houng, there are two main coincidences that happened in chapter two, and four. Both coincidences seemed like good things, however, the outcome of them negatively affected Hang’s character.
In chapter two, the first coincidence happens with Hang’s father. Hang’s father decides to leave because his mother suffered from paralysis. During that time, Ton met Que, and they decided to marry each other. This coincidence sounds lovely and sweet. However, the outcome of that marriage was that Hang’s mother was looked down upon. She married ton during her years of mourning,” it was during this solitary year that she met my father” (Houng, 20) which made it a big deal towards the community. This coincidence seemed to be great; Hang’s father was a gentleman ” my father had his charm”…”Their courtship began quickly” (Houng, 20) but it had a negative impact on hangs feelings toward her mother. Hang’s mother broke the rules, for the matter of love. This might seem good, but her and her family were affected by this decision.
Another main coincidence was in chapter four. This coincidence does exactly what Lodge’s chapter says. It helped with the novels plot structure and generated suspense. The author did get away with it by choosing the right time to execute it, and this coincidence is the last main coincidence in the novel. In chapter four hang’s father came across by coincidence a wonderer that knows Que “he knew my aunt Tam. He also knew my mother.” (Houng, 67) This wonderer helped Ton to get to Que. This coincidence seems to the reader that it is great, and beautiful because it’s talking about love, “he felt his heart race” (Houng, 67). But this coincidence impacted Hang negatively when we see her reaction. Later on, because of this coincidence, hang purposely tries to find out the secrets that are never been told to her by her parents. This coincidence affected hangs character throughout the play, it told her the story behind her significance. This falls under the category of character development.
Houng did a great job listing her coincidences. Her amount was just right. The coincidence helps with the understanding of the theme, and also the time of it happening affected the plot. Putting the coincidences, in the beginning, helped the reader understand the way of the author. The novel did not have as many coincidences as other novels, however, Houng got away with the two she put in the book. The little amount of coincidence in this novel helped to portray the novel as more realistic and, serious. All of this was explained in the lodge chapter. It’s like Houng read the Chapter before she wrote this novel, which is amazing!
Lodge, David. The art of fiction. Vintage, 2011.
Hương, Dương Thu. Paradise of the Blind. Trans. Phan Huy Duong and Nina McPherson. New York: Perennial, 2002. Print.