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One of the most important aspects of this novel to focus on is the presentation of communism and how it is used to demonstate a flawed ideology that brings only misery and sadness to those who ascribe to it. Note, for example, the disastrous land reform policy, where anybody who owned even a strip of land was vilified and treated as a "landowner." The land reform, far from bringing ownership and equality, according to the novel only served to "sow chaos and misery in its wake." An excellent character to study is of course Chinh, whose loyalty to communist ideology stands before even loyalty to his own family, which results in him denouncing his brother-in-law for a spurious reason and massive misery as a result. There is very little that is presented as being positive about communism, which probably explains why this novel is still banned in Vietnam today. In addition, consider the impact of communism on the citizens of Vietnam, as expressed in this quote:
The habit of misery had twisted these people, driving them to this paranoia. What had been diligence turned to desperation.
What Marx had originally thought would be an ideology that would be liberating, in this context is shown to be a set of ideas that is profoundly constricting and damaging, as shown through the examples above and the way that the people referred to in this quote are "driven" to "paranoia," and how their "diligence" is transformed to "desperation." The failure of communism would therefore be an excellent topic to investigate in this novel, and would be more than suitable for an essay.
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