Novel Without a Name

by Thu Huong Duong

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What are some examples of Quan and other characters’ experiences in Novel Without a Name that are influenced by the pro-colonial policies and actions of the government through a postcolonial interpretation?

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In Thu Huong Duong’s Novel Without a Name, Quan and his comrades are trying to make their way through a violent world, coping with the policies of the government and fighting against an enemy they do not really understand. Let’s look at some examples of these struggles.

You might take a look first at Quan’s travels in his attempt to free Bien. He is traveling on Luong’s orders, but he sees the horrible results of war everywhere he looks. This is much different from the glory he expected when he first joined the army. Instead, he sees everything from a woman who buries the dead to a skeleton in a hammock. He begins to wonder what his real purpose is, and he thinks he might be merely a puppet who follows Party orders. He is being used, and he quickly becomes disillusioned. This is not the Vietnam he is fighting for.

Look, too, at Quan’s encounter with an American soldier. He has always been taught that Americans are the enemy, but now he doubts it. This man is very much like himself, following orders, only for another government.

Finally, you might compare and contrast Luong and Quan in their responses to the government. Luong rises through the ranks because he accepts the Party’s policies and goals. Quan begins to question and ends up realizing the meaninglessness of the war.

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