In the book paradise of the blind the author uses many different Vietnamese names, each name has a meaning to it that helps in understanding certain acts the characters make and the plot of the story. The author uses the Vietnamese names for us to understand the nationality and characteristics of the character. A name is significant for the writer, a writer has to be clever in picking a name, to give a creation and an idea of a particular character, also to provide a specific feeling, and make assumptions about that character.
A name can give us an idea of the person ’s personality or their nationality for an example that was mentioned in the chapter, “ let her be called Violet, no, Veronica, no Violet, improbable name as that is for Catholic girls or Irish extractions, customarily named after saints and figures”(Lodge 6). Names like Violet is for a Catholic girl, she may look pretty, pale, and dark hair. Using that example, we were able to make assumptions about her origin and her looks from her name “Violet.” Names usually are very inherent to their character it is tough to change a name after it has been chosen.
Writers usually don’t care about giving the reader an explanation of why they choose a name the reader himself has to be able to find out. In the novel Paradise of the blind, we can tell that all the names have been studied very well before writing the plot, each name represents its character in the novel. For instance, Aunt tam means soul or spirit “Heart,” the mother Que means sparrow or a bird, Uncle Chinh means correctness, or rightness, Khoa means science, Hang means a lady. All the names have a connection to the plot of the story and how it affects the culture of the story.
The Vietnamese names in the paradise of the blind helped us in understanding the character because the meanings are connected to the characters personality. For example, aunt tam’s personality, she is a lovely lady that had helped her niece Hang and provided her with a living, Aunt tam is a very hard working lady that has spent all her life to build her future and make a fortune. Aunt Tam’s name means a heart or a soul; this shows that she has feelings for others. Another example is mother Que; she is Hang’s mother, she works in the sales, primarily a street vendor, she suddenly loses her legs in an accident however she still manages to work and provide her daughter and poor brother a living. Mother Que name means a sparrow or a bird, and in my opinion, a bird is frail, just like mother Que, “Of what? This is the home of our ancestors,” she replied, irritation showing in her voice.”20. This quote shows how feeble she is.
In the lodge chapter, it also mentioned that helps us in an understanding name is the surnames are usually perceived as arbitrary because it is passed on to all the family members. The surname in the novel Paradise of The Blind is Ton which means priceless, this relates to Hangs fathers struggles in living with uncle Chinh, how he wanted for his wife and daughter to live in peace, this shows that Ton’s actions are priceless.
In conclusion, a name is very significant to the plot, if we imagine a story without names it will not make any sense it has to have names or words that indicate to a specific thing for the reader to understand. “In the second story, Ghosts, all the characters have the names of colors” 39. Names are never meaningless the always have signified to something.