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Usually, when reading a book the character’s motivation is not very clear. In the book of Paradise Of The Blind by Duong Thu Hung’s, the characters motivations are not as straightforward and very recognizable. The lodge chapter talking about motivation clarifies on what motivates the characters in any book. The lodge chapter states that “ a character acts in a specific way not because, it interests the plot of the book but, because there is either an internal or external reason behind their actions.” The characters are not expected to act in a specific way like characters of a folktale. In folktales the hero is expected to act in a specific way, projecting the image of a courageous hero despite all the internal and external factors. He also talks about how we “ counterfeited the way we derive motives from our behavior in real life, and the way we harbor our true motives even, to ourselves. ”

We are able to see these points mentioned above in the characters of the Paradise of the Blind. Especially the major character. Hung (the daughter), Aunt Tam, Que (mother), and Uncle Chin. These characters have the ability to influence one another through their actions. Another aspect of the book that connects all the characters together and motivates them is their Vietnamese culture. This gives them a limit to their actions in some way. For example, In the begging of the book hang a worker from Vietnam currently living in Moscow received a message that her uncle is sick. At first, Hang refused to go but then, decided to do to please her mom. What motivated her to go was, that the Vietnamese hold family at a high level, where they should respect their mothers no matter what. Even Though, Que always went to seek approval from Chin. Hang sees her actions as selfish, especially after what he has done to her father. What motivated her mom Que to listen to Chin in the first place was, what the Vietnamese believed in. they believed that the women had to be submissive to men and constantly support them no matter what.

Que’s motive wasn’t really clear throughout the book but, was later revealed by the end of the book. As the book begins Hang and Que were as one. But, as Uncle Chin was more devoted to their lives, one can realize that Que’s family beliefs begin to change drastically. We were able to see later on in the book, how Que drifted apart from her lifestyle. She started satisfying her brother China’s wishes and even giving a percent of her income to her brother Chin, leaving very little for daughter Hang and herself as well. She says on page 176 “ This was her mission: to gather coin by coin, the money necessary to serve the needs of her brother.” This all goes back to the Vietnamese tradition. In the Vietnamese culture the younger sibling usually takes care of eldest in the family, and in this case, it is uncle Chin. To show that Que was alone she says “ there is no one left in our family. I’m all he’s got, you understand.” (pg 178)

Most of the events in Hags life are very greatly influenced by the people she’s around that is what her motivations are. As a child she was not permitted to say what he believed in, she simply just had to obey the rules. Also, growing up in such an environment where you only did what you were told to make it hard for one to find themselves. As she grows older she now starts to realize what effects her and motivates her. We can see from this quote in page 174 “ All I heard know is this song was a vague pity in the middle of the chaos of life, a call for tenderness, protection, and the desire to reach out for comfort.” She is now on a journey to find herself, she promised herself to stay hopeful. She doesn’t want to repeat previous mistakes that her ancestors have done in the past. At the very end of the book is where the motivation sparks a light when she sells Aunt Tam’s house and gold and tells her goodbye.

1 Comment

  1. ibraheemxd says:

    Great explination of motivation in the Novel, “Paradise of The Blind”. I like how you explained the reasons behind hangs actions. hangs seems to have this idea of trying to make the society a better place, and that is a great motive to try and seek. Do you think that emotion can be harder than traditions when it comes to motivation? because you explained that Hang stayed with her mother because she loves her, and that she is expected to do from society. So is it emotion, or tradion? because in the book hang seemed to be more emotional, and not care much about tradition. Overall it was a great piece, hope you get an A!

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