Examples Of Self Sacrifice In Paradise Of The Blind

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An Analysis of the Theme of Self-Sacrifice in Paradise of the Blind

In Paradise of the Blind, Duong Thu Huong tells the story of three Vietnamese women, Hang, Que and Aunt Tam, struggling to exist in a male dominated, oppressive and dogmatic community. These characteristics demonstrate that self-sacrifice is expected from women in the society. As one of the main themes in the novel, self-sacrifice reveals where the characters’ true loyalties lie. This test for loyalty leads to conflict, frustration and darkness throughout the novel. In a society where women are not allowed to explore their individuality, self-sacrifice stands out as a way for women to find their own self-worth.

The self-sacrifice begins with Que, Hang’s widowed mother, who dedicates her life to providing for others, starting with her daughter Hang and then altering her priorities to keep her brother Chinh and his family content and healthy. Chinh, a devoted member of the Communist Party, in dire financial straits, returns after his ten-year long absence and orders Que to sell their family house in the village. Meanwhile, Que leads a difficult life in the city. Chinh is partially responsible for this due to opportunist commitment to the Communist Party which had forced Que’s husband Ton to leave the village. However, no matter what Chinh has put her through, Que
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Huong’s female characters succumb to the expectations of society, obeying and abiding by the traditional values. A distorted kind of self-realization is achieved through the women’s blind sacrifices. It is a pattern, a tragic oxymoron and an endless cycle; Aunt Tam, Que and Hang sacrifice all in the name of family and traditions, and this makes them feel worthy and satisfied. The novel ends with a twist as Hang realizes how this cycle ruins her mother and aunt and finally decides to break free from the burdens of
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