In many ways this novel can be seen as a powerful indictment of communism in the way that its hypocrisy and failure is highlighted. There are of course plenty of examples of this in the character of Chinh, but perhaps the most blatant attack on communism occurs through the student who is known only as the Bohemian. He, watching examples of corruption in the communist leadership, such as Duong's seizure of land that he has no claim to, makes the following accusation to Chinh in the novel about the communist leadership:
They decreed their thousands of rules, their innumerable edicts, each one more draconian than the last. But, in the shadows, they paddled around in the mud, without faith or law.
This is an immensely powerful quote, as the Bohemian identifies and exposes the hypocrisy that is at the heart of communism in the way that it was applied in Vietnam. Note the difference between the "draconian" edicts on the one hand and the way that in "shadows" they move "without faith or law," clearly not believing in communism and only using it to feather their own nests or benefit themselves. The image that the Bohemian creates conjures up images of violent children who play in the mud but without any rules or regulations to hold them back from doing exactly what they want to do. This seems to capture the reality of how communism was being used and abused by the powerful.