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Portrayals of traditional and contemporary views on marriage in Postwar Vietnam through modern Vietnamese literature

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  1. Establishing traditional and contemporary Vietnamese perceptions.
  2. Traditional marriages in Vietnam are rapidly declining.
  3. The discrepancy between the data collected in the statistics and the information gathered in interviews.
  4. The mother's refusal to join the father in urban retirement.
  5. Duong Thu Huong's Beyond Illusions.
  6. Unlike Miss Tong, Kim Anh holds a rather contemporary view of marriage.

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. [...]

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