Marriage is a historically worldwide phenomenon. However, different times and cultures hold distinct views towards marriage. What constitutes a traditional or untraditional marriage varies greatly from culture to culture and even from time to time within a particular culture. Examining the portrayal of marital relations within a culture's stories allows for a greater understanding of the variety of views held towards marriage within that culture in a given time. It is through the portrayal of marriage in Y Ban's The Younger Brother, Duong Thu Huong's Beyond Illusions, and Nguyen Quang Than's The Waltz of the Chamber Pot that Vietnamese perceptions of marital norms and abnormalities post-American conflict will be assessed.
[...] The influence of Westernization on Vietnam through French colonialization, the American conflict, and direct or indirect trade with capitalist states has aided in the romanticization of marriage resulting in the majority of marriages in contemporary Vietnam being arranged by couples themselves for the sake of love. The acceptance of a progressive understanding of human sexuality combined with the contemporary dethronement of the primacy of marriage in Vietnam has resulted in a growing number of children born out of wedlock without the traditional social stigma held against it (Williams and Philipguest 7). [...]
[...] The Younger Brother's blend of traditional and contemporary understandings of marital relations in Vietnam reflects the blend that currently exists in Vietnamese perceptions of marriage as evinced in the discrepancy between the statistics and interviews examined prior. The story empowers and nearly sanctifies the mother while simultaneously betraying its feminist qualities in the occasional dutiful rejection of Ngoeo enacted by the mother in order to appease her husband. Likewise, the shift of power in the marriage is uncertain, as the mother dutifully performs the husband's commands, but fully rejects his call for her to join his urban retirement. [...]
[...] Thus, through the embodiment of traditional and contemporary Vietnamese perceptions of marriage in the characters of Nguyen and Linh, as well as the outside views of Miss Tong, Kim Anh, and Linh's colleagues towards the affair, Duong Thu Huong's Beyond Illusions reflects the existence of both traditional and contemporary perspectives of marital relationships among modern Vietnamese. While Y Ban's The Younger Brother and Duong Thu Huong's Beyond Illusions portray both traditional and contemporary Vietnamese perspectives on marital relations, it is Nguyen Quang Than's The Waltz of the Chamber Pot that presents the most radically contemporary perspective on marital relations through its tone and portrayal of extremely, and quite possibly hyperbolically, contemporary characters and situations. [...]
[...] Y Ban's The Younger Brother and Duong Thu Huong's Beyond Illusions offer portrayals of the discrepancy in research of the paradoxical holding of both traditional and contemporary views towards marriage in modern Vietnam, while Nguyen Quang Than's The Waltz of the Chamber Pot portrays an entirely contemporary perspective on marriage. It is through these stories that the discrepancies in sociological research find life and are explained as paradox through their portrayal of normality and abnormality in modern Vietnamese marriages. Works Consulted Andaya, Barbara Watson. [...]
[...] Regulating Marriage and Sexuality: States and Laws in Early Modern Southeast Asia November < earlymodernworld.uchicago.edu/andaya.pdf> Crawford, Ann Caddell. Customs and Culture of Vietnam November < http://www.militaryliving.com/vietnam2/vietnamch6.htm> Durand, Maurice M. and Nguyen Tran Huan. An Introduction to Vietnamese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press Hirschman, Charles and Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan. “Cultural and Socioeconomic Influences on Divorce During Modernization: Southeast Asia, 1940s to 1960s.” Population & Development Review 29.2 (June 2003): 215-253. Huong Tram. Glance through Vietnamese Literature Today.” ABD (2001): 11. Jones, Gavin. [...]
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