Paradise of the Blind Summary & Study Guide

D??ng Thu H??ng
This Study Guide consists of approximately 67 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Paradise of the Blind.
This section contains 662 words
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Paradise of the Blind Summary & Study Guide Description

Paradise of the Blind Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading and a Free Quiz on Paradise of the Blind by D??ng Thu H??ng.

Chapters 1-3

Paradise of the Blind begins in the 1980s. Hang, a young Vietnamese woman receives a telegram telling her to visit her uncle, who is very ill, in Moscow. Hang works in a textile factory in Russia, thousands of miles from Moscow. The account of her train journey to Moscow is then interspersed with her reminiscences of her childhood and adolescence in Vietnam and the earlier history of her family.

Que, Hang's mother, lives alone in a village after the death of her parents. When she is twenty she marries Ton, a schoolteacher. They are happy together for nearly two years, until Que's brother Chinh returns, in about 1956. He has been fighting with the communists, who now run the country. Chinh forbids Que to speak to Ton because his family are landlords and are therefore enemies of the peasantry. They belong to what Chinh calls the exploiting class, who must be denounced and punished. Such denunciations are carried out in front of all the villagers. All the landowners are denounced, and their land is confiscated, which includes Que's sister-in-law Tam and her grandmother Nhieu. However, Hang's father escapes. Que is left alone; Chinh will not even let her talk to Tam. Distressed, Que disappears from the village for six months, during which Chinh also leaves.

Some years later, the land reforms, which have been a failure, are rescinded. The Special Section for the Rectification of Errors arrives in the village, and at public gatherings the villagers vent their grievances over the injustices they suffered. Que is a target for vengeance, because Chinh is her brother, but Tam protects her.

On the train ride to Moscow, Hang recalls a visit she made with a friend to Kiev and then returns to the family story. Her mother could no longer live in the village and leaves for Hanoi, where she lives in a working-class slum and makes a living as a street vendor. Ten years later, Hang is born. She grows up miserable and lonely, knowing nothing about her father, since her mother refuses to answer her questions.

When Hang is nine, Uncle Chinh returns. It is ten years since he and his sister have seen each other. Que invites her neighbors to meet him, and they are all impressed that he is responsible for ideological education in a northern province. Chinh reproaches Que for being a street vendor, since he thinks such people are members of the bourgeoisie who are enemies of the revolution. He says he will get her a job in a factory, even though she does not want one. The real reason for Chinh's visit is that he wants his share of the money from the sale of their parents' house. Que takes Hang to the village to get the money.

Chapters 7-9

Hang remembers when Aunt Tam stayed at their house, looking after Hang as she studied for her college entrance exams. Because Aunt Tam is looking after Hang, Hang's mother becomes indifferent to her. Hang tries to win back her love, while Que seeks acceptance from Uncle Chinh's family. Hang goes to stay with her aunt for a week, where she enjoys the feasts that Aunt Tam prepares. At one banquet, almost the entire village is invited, including Duong, the village vice president, who is hated for his high-handed behavior. Aunt Tam criticizes him to his face about an incident in which a man was arrested without a warrant. She says the man's only crime was that he insulted Duong and the Party secretary. Aunt Tam then tells stories about wise and foolish leaders in Vietnamese history, which everyone enjoys except Duong. Embarrassed by Aunt Tam's taunting of him, he makes an early departure.

Hang reveals that this is not her first trip to Moscow to see her uncle, who visits Moscow on government business. She saw him there a year ago and discovered that he makes money by trading on the black market.

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