Example Reflective Statement ¡V Paradise of the Blind


The interactive oral allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the text, especially in regards to the historical and political background of Vietnam. During the discussion, one group mentioned that the original Vietnamese communist movement had the intent of pursuing independence from France, as Vietnam was a French colony at the time. Moreover, the communist party also claimed to have the goal of unifying all the Vietnamese people under one leadership, following the ¡§temporary¡¨ division created between North and South Vietnam after the communists successfully defeated the French. This association between communism and such admirable aims, such as independence and unification, contrasts greatly with the image of the communism created by Duong. The text focuses heavily on criticizing the communist ideals, and Duong¡¦s decision to omit the more positive aspects of communism is extremely significant. Through the discussion, I came to the understanding that Duong¡¦s perspective of communism is likely shaped by her personal experiences in the Vietnam War, evident in her involvement in war movements from a young age. Moreover, her original support of communist reforms, and her gradual change of mind towards more capitalistic and free ideas, further reiterates why Duong would choose to portray communism as a purely destructive and oppressive force in the novel. Through realizing Duong¡¦s personal connection to the Vietnam War and communism, I was able to develop my understanding of the perspective that the novel takes in regards to these political changes.


Another idea that I found to be particularly interesting, is how as a French colony, Vietnam was heavily influenced by Western ideas, despite being a society which places great importance on tradition. This conflict between traditional values and ¡§newly introduced¡¨, Western ideas in Vietnam is clearly reflected in the novel. The deep-rooted nature of Vietnamese traditions is seen in the importance placed on familial duties, while conflicting Western beliefs can be see in characters like Hang and Aunt Tam, who perhaps are representative of Western ideas of individuality and independence. Throughout the novel, an association of strength is made with Aunt Tam, while Duong consistently highlights Hang¡¦s hesitance towards abiding by traditional rules. Through insight into Vietnam¡¦s history, and a realization that it was the French who first introduced these Western beliefs to Vietnam, my contextual understanding of where these conflicting values and opinions perhaps originated from developed, thus, strengthening my overall understanding of the novel.