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Vu Trong Pong Taboo Summary

Decent Essays
Vu Trong Phung’s The Industry of Marrying Europeans handled a topic that many other reporters at the time saw as “taboo” or “deviant” because he openly wrote about people many saw as “lowlives” who were shunned from traditional Vietnamese culture (10). While other Vietnamese reporters avoided writing about opium addicts, gamblers, rapists, and other corrupted characters, Vu Trong Phung was unique in blatantly centering his works on these types of people. Though many of his contemporaries claimed that his work was nonfiction, Thúy Tranviet, the translator of this edition, argues that Vu Trong Phung’s work is a mixture of both nonfiction and fiction (11), making this primary source unique for its truth-bending and its translation. Basing his…show more content…
Since these wives were basically prostitutes under the guise of marriage, many people ignored the “taboo” and “deviant” nature of this version sex industry because it was difficult to understand. Vu Trong Phung not only clarified the structure of these marriages but also brought to light the dangers to the women. While highlighting the dangers, he also criticizes his own culture for essentially providing no other options for these women and then shunning them when they had enough (14). He even further objected to the condemnation of prostitutes by equivocating marrying for anything other than love was like receiving a life-long prostitute (14). By having these eccentric stories and radical beliefs, Vu Trong Phung was able to call attention to a subject no one wanted to talk about – let alone read…show more content…
However, Tranviet claims that Vu Trong Phung mocked these women to reveal a larger issue in Vietnamese culture and specifically in their traditional marriage customs, such as not marrying for love. By being untactfully using humor when clearly describing the horrors these “wives” face, Tranviet reasons that Vu Trong Phung better contrasts the real cultural issues by taking reality one step further with comedy. He wanted his readers to laugh, but he had a “clear mission of mocking his characters… [to record] the languages, the sounds, and lives of a rejected culture,”
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