In David Lodge’s chapter about the literary device, repetition he explains that there are two kinds of repetition. First, lexical words which are like cold, dark, fall and wind. Second, are grammatical words such as of, in, and. Readers can find these words repeated multiple time through one, or a couple short paragraphs. He also states that every author has their own way of writing and emphasising their point, but these are the most used ways of emphasizing the point they are trying to make. Repetition in the novel “Paradise of the Blind” can be found in many different forms and types, in this blogpost I have decided to chose three significant things that are repeated in the novel. Songs and slogans, food, and the memories and actions of the characters.
Before I began explaining and showing the repetition that is used in the novel, there are a few characters that are important to know:
- Hang: Main character
- Que: Hang’s Mother
- Chinh: Hang’s maternal uncle
- Aunt Tam: Hang’s paternal aunt
As we read the book we see many examples of repetition. First, that I have noticed is the slogan that was repeated in chapter two page 25, “Pillars of the land reform” and it was said by the peasants, it was repeated for the next few pages and said multiple times. This type of repetition is important because it displays the importance of that slogan to the peasants and the Vietnamese people. The cripples song is also an example of repetition that is seen through the novel “Hail autumn and its procession of dead leaves, the rows of barren poplars stand silent on the hillside.” (pg.111) at first Hang did not understand the meaning of the lyrics to that song but as we see her through the novel she develops an understanding of the words, which basically means leading a worthless life that is unfulfilled. The words like “dead, barren, silent, and autumn” are lexical words as the Lodge chapter said.This song is very important and that is why its repeated it is showing Hang’s development as a character and feminism through the novel. Second, food is very important in the Vietnamese culture and that is shown through the repetition of its description in the novel. For example, in chapter three, “ mouthwatering variety of delicious, cheap, street food. Here, they made tiny sticky-rice cakes and hemp cakes small as a jackfruit pits and wrapped in five or seven layers of banana leaves” (pg. 53) this very detailed description of what kind of food that is being presented is very important because it shows the significance of food in the Vietnamese culture. Finally, the sadness that is being presented by the main character, Hang, throughout the book it was repeated her homesickness and feeling of loneliness and that is by what the Lodge chapter says is a lexical words repetition because it gives a very dark sad feeling. “I miss home, something terrible” (pg.14) this shows her homesickness and the feeling lonely. As shown in the book, the grammatical words are displayed through the whole novel, because they are essential in writing and are shown in almost every page.