Essay: An overview of Vietnamese literary history

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  • An overview of Vietnamese literary history
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1. An overview of Vietnamese literary history:

a. From 10th to 19th century:

From the 10th to the end of 19th century, Vietnamese literature was medieval. Historically, Vietnamese literature was established quite late in the compare with other literature all over the world. According to (Tân, 1998) and (Thin, 2016), the earliest works by Vietnamese writers were written in the 10th century in classical Chinese, related to the first Vietnamese dynasties.

“No work of literature from the brush of a Vietnamese survives from the period of Chinese rule prior to the rise of the first national dynasties; and from the Dinh, Former Le, and Ly dynasties, all that remains are some poems by Lac Thuan (end of the tenth century), Khuong Viet (same period), and Ly Thuong Kiet (last quarter of the eleventh century). Those competent to judge consider these works to be quite up to the best standards of Chinese literature” (George, 1966).

In the second half of the 19th century, Vietnam society and culture were affected by Western civilization through the way of French colonialism. However, it was said that the western civilization could not make Vietnamese literature become modern (Long & Suyen, 2007). From 1858 to the first decade of 20th century, Vietnamese literature was still medieval, with the ways of writing affected by medieval Chinese literature (language, letter, ways of writing…).

b. From 1900 to 1930:

The process of urbanization at the early of 20th century in Vietnam had created the appearance of modern publishers, newspapers and magazines, and more important, the new intelligentsia with the new outlook on life. The key role of the cultural and spiritual life had gradually had shifted from the Confucian scholar to the Western intellectuals (Khung, 2001). This fact led Vietnamese literature to the first process of modernization in the first three decades of 20th century (1900-1930).

In this first three decades, the modern Vietnamese literature did not get much achievement. However, some important changes happened which would be the basic for literature to have more success in the next stage. Those were the changes in the letter/ system of writing (From Chinese to Latin alphabet), in the type of writer (from scholar to artist), the ways of writing (from parallel constructions to conversational language), the way of passing (from mainly handwriting to printing) (Long & Suyen, 2007)…

This time is considered to be the transitional period of time, from medieval to modern period of literature. (Long & Suyen, 2007).

c. 1930-1945:

There was a booming process in Vietnamese literature from 1930 to 1945 for its achievements (Manh, 1978). Vietnamese scholars highly appreciate the great achievements in that period. Discussing about the speed of Vietnamese literature development at this time, literary critic Vu Ngoc Phan commented that: “One year of literature development in Vietnam (this time) is equal to thirty years in other countries”(Phan, 1942).

The maturity of the writer generation who were train in the schools system by French, the role of newspapers and magazines, the effects of the western modern life, and the birth of Vietnamese communist party in 1930 was described as the important reasons why Vietnamese literature had entered the blossoming period of 15 years. The Vietnamese literary critics argued that Vietnamese literature had skyrocketed in terms of both quantity and quality in this time of period (Khung, 2001; Long & Suyen, 2007; Manh, 1978).

Vietnamese literature in this time can be divided into three parts: First one was the romantic part in which the main content was expressing the writers’ ego. Second part was the realistic one, described the fact and generalized rules of life, especially the reality of famer and worker class who were the main percentage of population in Vietnam society at that time. And the last one was called “revolutionary literature” or “resistance literature” in Vietnam, which was mainly written by the Vietnamese prisoners of French colonialism. This part described the process of struggling (qua trinh dau tranh) of Vietnamese combatants (chien si, nguoi dau tranh) for independence, freedom of Vietnam.

For the politic purposes, the first part got very lowly while the second and the third parts got the highly evaluation in Vietnam for many periods of time(Manh, 1978). The romanticism in literature was even boycotted (bai xich). Starting in 1930, under the leadership of Communist party of Vietnam formed and trained by President Ho Chi Minh, the “revolutionary literature”/ “resistance literature”, mainly written to support political purposes had become the part which was strongly encouraged in Vietnamese literature.

That was why many novels and short stories written in this time were chosen to the curriculums, and then after 1945 they were invested to make feature films. Describing the facts of classes in Vietnam society, films made from novels and short stories written in this time have historical and cultural values. As a result, they can become very useful tools to teach Vietnamese history and literature.

d. From 1945 to 1975:

After “August revolution” to declare independence and freedom in 1945, Vietnam started a new historical process with two resistance wars, and so, literature had changed its nature. During this time, politics effected seriously on the literature. Under the orientation of Vietnam communist party, Vietnamese literature must serve politics in encouraging the fighting spirit of people in the struggles with French and American for Vietnam’s independence, freedom and unification.

* The context of Vietnam from 1945 to 1975:

– Historical and the social context:

Literature and films in Vietnam from 1945 – 1975 developed in the special conditions of the society and history. Many important historical events had impact on all aspects of social life in Vietnam happened from 1945 to 1975.

According to N. X. Minh (2006), the “August Revolution” in 1945 led by President Ho Chi Minh demolished the dominance of French colonialism, Japanese fascism and also the feudalism that existed for thousands of years in Vietnam. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam nation was founded. However, the French colonialism had come back Vietnam and then the resistance against French colonialism happened and lasted for 9 years, from 1946 to 1954.

In July 1954, the Geneva Convention was signed. Vietnam country was divided into two zones. Vietnamese people had to conduct the struggle against US, to liberate the Southern and defend the Northern. In April 30th 1975, Vietnam liberated of the South, and had reunification of the country. All those big historical changes had a strong impact and led to fundamental changes in society (N. X. Minh, 2006).

– Cultural and thought background:

National culture, especially the cultural values created by the working classes and soldiers were valued. This was resulting from the fact that farmers, workers and soldiers were the main forces of Vietnam population and also the main resources of resistances.

Vietnam had mainly accepted the socialist culture from the Soviet Union, China. Cultural exchanges were limited, primarily in some socialist countries. Patriotism, solidarity, sense of community and humanism were the ideological foundation of the literature and films.

* The characteristics of Vietnamese Resistance Literature:

– The roles of literature:

Vietnamese literature in this time composed and developed primarily in the context of wars with difficulties and obstacles. The objects of Vietnam revolution were not only French colonialists and American imperialist but also feudal system and feudal mandarins. Under the supplying guidance of the Communist party of Vietnam, writers had contributed significantly to get the goals of the common struggle of the Vietnamese people. Vietnamese literature reflected some major aspects of the history and appearance of the spirit’s life of Vietnamese during the wars.

The contents of the literature were the entire life of the nation and of the country’s struggles those were organized and led by the Communist party of Vietnam for independence, freedom, for reunification as well as for the socialist ideal of the country.

The leaderships of the Communist party of Vietnam for arts were shown in many ways, both in terms of ideology and organization. The writers also were pointed out the objectives and tasks of the arts in every period. From 3 parts, Vietnamese literature was incorporated in one part called “resistance literature”.

A big team of writers and artists gathered in cultural organizations to ensure that they were going on the right artistic path. Literature actually became spiritual weapons to serve effectively the objectives of the struggle. Literature have been closely linked with the destiny of the nation and become an integral part of its career. They were directed at and followed up to the service of political tasks and the requirements of each periods of time from 1945 to 1975.

– The contents of Vietnam resistance literature:

First, Vietnamese literature wrote about the social reality with many historical great events. Literature in this period had recorded the images of a historical period with full of hardships and sacrifices of Vietnamese people.

Secondly, literature in this time had the image of the country, about the classes of people, generations and people of Vietnam with rich ethnic traditions and qualities.

And lastly, in terms of the ideological content, literature and films of this period were highly promoted the basic spiritual traditions of the nation – as well as highlights of Vietnamese’s qualities: patriotism, Humanism.

– The impacts of literature:

In 1945, more than 90 % of Vietnam’s population was illiterate. However, a large team of writers and artists who used to be illiterate farmers and workers were trained in the revolution and resistance – which also must be counted as an achievement of the new literature.

Literature helped Vietnam’s culture wide its exchanges: from Chinese in the medieval time to the French in the first half of 20th century, and then to the nations of socialism (mainly with Soviet union in the period of resistance and war from 1945 to 1975).

e. From 1975 to now:

10 years after 1975, the Vietnamese literature continued its inertia, like the wartime. From 1986, with the process of “Doi Moi”, Vietnamese literature had gradually been changing its nature to be more suitable with the life of the post war. And Nguyen Minh Chau was argued the writer in the van of the innovative movement in literature (Hoan, 2002).

2. The films used the plots of Vietnamese novels and short stories written from 1930 to 1975:

The process of struggle for independence and national unification in Vietnam had created a rich and vast body of literature featuring content outlining historical facts and also cultural and emotional life throughout the Vietnam War. It is said that these literary achievements are not only the a leading source of motivation for Vietnamese people during the two resistance wars against the French and Americans, but that these have also contribute significantly to nurture the spiritual life of Vietnam today. Due to the historical and cultural values of this literature, and more important, this part of Vietnamese literature was unanimous with the political point of views of the Communist party of Vietnam, many novels and short stories were chosen to write literature textbooks those are compulsory with both teachers and students in schools and universities. Thanks to their appearance in the textbooks, the novels, short stories, plots and characters had become familiar with many Vietnamese generations.

In the mean time, many of the plots of novels and short stories were chosen to build the featured films. Both of these literature and featured films are so well known and common for their classical, cultural and political values in Vietnam that they are shown on national television frequently each time Vietnam celebrate the national historical events. They are also easy to find and freely download on the Internet. Thanks to literary works’ appearances in the textbooks in schools and university, and thanks to the films’ propagation films on Vietnam national channels television as well as on the Internet, these films and literary works have contributed significantly to nurture the spiritual life of Vietnam not only during the war but also in the present time. Therefore, from the tools of politics, films and literature had become the entertainment in the low living standard society.

Based on the purposes of education and training at every level, the syllabuses were built and textbooks were organized to write by Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training. These textbooks were mandatory to use in schools. At the primary, secondary and high schools, many poems, short stories and extracts of novels those got the high evaluation were used. At the tertiary level, students will study the more deeply and broaden knowledge of literary history. The processes of literary development and the literary career of writers were also taught. Therefore, at the tertiary level, many short stories and novels in the form of films can be chosen as a tool to teach literature for students. Some of them those are very common and popular can be listed below:

1. Short stories Chí Phèo (Chi Pheo), Lão Hạc (Mr Hac, The poor old man), and novel Sống mòn (When the life had gradually declined), written by Nam Cao. These plots were mixed and used in one film Làng Vũ Đại ngày ấy (The Vu Dai village in the remote past time), by Pham Van Khoa.

2. Novel Tắt đèn (The light was off) by Ngo Tat To and film Chị Dậu (Mrs Dau, a poor woman), by Pham Van Khoa.

3. Novel “Đất nước đứng lên” (The country had risen up again aggression) by Nguyen Ngoc. The name of film and novel were the same.

4. Short story “Một chuyện chép ở bệnh viện” (A story written in the hospital) by Bui Duc Ai and film Chị Tư Hậu (Mrs Tu Hau)

5. Short story “Người đàn bà trên chuyến tàu tốc hành” (The woman on the express train) by Nguyen Minh Chau and the film “Người đàn bà mộng du” – (The sleepwalker woman).

6. Novel Hòn Đất (Hon Dat, the name of district in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, Vietnam) by Anh Duc – and the film Chị Sứ (Mrs Su)

7. “Vợ chồng A Phủ” (Mr and Mrs A Phu) by To Hoai

8. Cỏ lau (The forest of reed) by Nguyen Minh Chau.

9. Short story and film “Mảnh trăng cuối rừng” (The cresent moon behind the forest) (by Nguyen Minh Chau).

10. Short story and film “Những người thợ xẻ” (Sawyers, short story by Nguyen Huy Thiep”, film by )

11. Novel and film “Bến không chồng” (Village without husband, novel by Duong Huong)

12. Short story and film “Tướng về hưu” (General retired, short story by Nguyen Huy Thiep)

13. Short story and film Thương nhớ đồng quê ” (Miss countryside, short story by Nguyen Huy Thiep)

14. Novel and film “Đất rừng phương nam” (Southern land and forest, novel by Doan Gioi)

15. Novel and film “Cánh đồng bất tận” (The unending field, short story by Nguyen Ngoc Tu)

16. Film “Mẹ vắng nhà” (When the mother went out) by Nguyễn Khánh Dư (short story Người mẹ cầm súng (when the mother took the gun – Nguyễn Thi)

The list of these films (novels and short stories as well) can be lengthened with the films produced in the Southern of Vietnam.

However, to serve for the main purposes of this topic, the feature films those are chosen for this project should satisfy three following conditions:

Firstly, they should be produced from the literary works those must be used in as many levels of Vietnam education as possible.

Secondly, the literature works should be appeared in textbooks in Vietnam as long as possible.

And thirdly, both literature and the films should have high quality or got the high evaluation from the critics, reviewers, readers and/or audiences.

From those criterions, below is films chosen for this project:

Name of films/ directors/ year of producing The archievements Name of literary works/ writers/year of creation The appearance of the literary works in the textbooks Main contents

Chị Dậu (Mrs Dau) / Pham Van Khoa/ 1980 Director and People’s Artist Pham Van Khoa received the Vietnam national Prize (2007) in Literature and Arts for the three best works, including Mrs Dau (1980) and (The Vu Dai village in the remote time)/ (1982) Tắt đèn (when the light is out) – Ngô Tất Tố, 1937 – An extract in textbook of literature 8th grade (1990 till now).

– Some chapters in Literature 12 grade (1980 – 1990).

– “Ngo Tat To”, the name of writer as a lecture in Modern Vietnamese literature from 1930-1945, undergraduate students (1970 till now) The poor daily life of Vietnam farmers before 1945.

The political relation between farmers and leaders in Vietnam society before 1945.

Làng Vũ Đại ngày ấy (The Vu Dai village in the remote time)/ Pham Van Khoa/1982

Actor Bui Cuong received the Gold Medal for the best actor at the Sixth Vietnam Films Festival (1983)

Chí Phèo 1941 (Chi Pheo), Lão Hạc 1943 (Mr Hac, The poor old man), and novel Sống mòn 1944 (When the life had gradually declined)/ Nam Cao/ 1939-1945 Mr Hac, The poor old man in Literature for 8th grade from 1990 till now.

Literature for 11th grade from 1990 till now.

Mordern Vietnamese literature from 1930-1945, undergraduate students (1960 till now) Vietnam countryside before 1945.

Daily life of Vietnamese farmers and intelligentsia before 1945

Vợ chồng A Phủ/ Mai Lộc/ 1961 The silver lotus prize at the second Vietnam film festival in 1973 Vợ chồng A Phủ (The couple A Phu)/ Tô Hoài / 1953 – Grade 12 (1980 till now)

– To Hoai, name of writer as a lecture of Modern Vietnamese literature from 1930-1945, undergraduate students (1960 till now). The poor daily life and the beauty of life and soul of ethnic minority in North East of Vietnam during the Vietnam war of resistance against French.

Cỏ lau (The forest of reed) by Nguyen Minh Chau, 1989

The Golden Torch Prize at film festival in Korea 1993, The first prize of Ministry of Vietnam National Defense for film on armed forces topic, the second prize of Vietnam cinema Association.

Cỏ lau (The forest of reed) by Vương Đức, 1993

Nguyen Minh Chau, name of writer as a lecture of Modern Vietnamese literature from 1975, undergraduate students (1960 till now) The tragedy of Vietnamese soldiers after the war of resistance against American.

3. The detailed information about the literature, writers, plots and films selected:

a. Literature:

The realism in Vietnam literature appeared quiet later than in many other countries. Even its elements can be found in folklore and medieval Vietnamese literature, it was said that from the early of 20th century, Vietnam had its official realistic literature and this part was blossoming from 1930 to 1945. In this time, Vietnamese realistic literature can be divided in three main trends:

The first trend was called “the social realism” (Khung, 2001; Manh, 1978). This trend contained most of the writers and appeared firstly from 1930 to 1935, and got its highest achievement in about 1936 to 1939. This was resulted by the big effect of the French fascism on Vietnam and the development of political struggle movement to ask for democracy in Vietnam during this time. Therefore, the main content of this literature trend described the clash/conflicts between classes in Vietnam society. In the list of literature trend, there were well known writers like Nguyen Cong Hoan, Vu Trong Phung, Tam Lang, Tu Mo… In this trend, Ngo Tat To was an excellent writer. And his novel, “When the light out” was a typical literary work. This novel was adapted to become the film “Mrs Dau” which was selected for this project.

The second literature trend was called “custom realism”. The writers in this trend took note the manners and customs (phong tuc tap quan) in home villages of the ethnic minorities in rural areas in Vietnam. Some of them are To Hoai, Bui Hien, Kim Lan… To Hoai was considered to be the representative writer for this trend. Although his short story “The couple A Phu” was written after 1945 and To Hoai concentrated on the process of the struggle between ethnic minorities of Vietnam with French colonialism, he described quite detailed the manners and customs of the rural area in the North West of Vietnam. The featured films “The couple A Phu” was chosen into this project.

And the last trend of realistic Vietnamese literature was called “daily realistic literature”. Appearing quite late, writers of this trend asked for the norm of the writer “started the inspiration source of creativeness which was started by no one and created something unprecedented” (Cao, 2002). This trend appeared in about 1939 to 1945; concentrated detailed on the daily life of people, then analysed the psychology of characters. From the daily life and the inner world of characters, writers generalized the rules of the reality. Nam Cao and his works, for example, “Chi Pheo”, “Mr Hac the poor old man”, and “When the life had gradually declined” were typical. The film “Vu Dai village in the remote time” adapted from this works would be selected in this project.

After 1975, this trend continued its development with the short stories by Nguyen Minh Chau. He was argued the first writer who refused the ways of writing existed during the wartime from 1945 to 1975 to led Vietnamese literature entered into a new stage. The film Cỏ lau (The forest of reed) adapted from his short story, written in1989 would be selected for this dissertation.

b. Writers and plots of novels, short stories:

b1. Nam Cao and his works:

* Nam Cao was born in 1917 into a Catholic peasant family in Ha Nam province (Red river delta). A teacher by profession, he became known as a writer around 1940 when the French colonists handed over Vietnam and other countries in Indochina to the Japanese. In defiance of official censorship which stifled even the faintest show of revolt on the part of patriotic writers, he tried to expose the injustice and hyprocrisy of the regime, through describing the live of poor intellectuals and peasants lives which offered no way out ans which feudal oppression alone rendered impossible. In 1943, he joined the Cultural Association for National Salvation and participated in the August 1945 General Insurrection in his hometown. As a writer and journalist, he took an active part in the National Resistance War against the French colonists and become a member of the Communist Party in 1948. In 1951, he was killed when on a mission in the occupied zone.

*A serries of Nam Cao’s works were adapted into the film “Vu Dai village in the remote time”

– “Lao Hac” (Mr Hac, The poor old man): Mr Hac was a poor farmer. His wife died and he had only a garden and a son. Because of no money to marry his wife, the son was bitterly disappointed and left home with his father to go to the rubber plantation to earn money. From then on, Mr Hac lived alone with the dog as a friend. He just collected fruits and vegetables in the garden to live day by day. To be ailing, to have a lean year, he fell into a difficult situation and was poor, hungry and miserable. During the time he waited for his son coming back, he was heart-broken to sell the dog to have the money for his son and his funeral. He send this money to the neighbour who was a teacher, then asked Binh Tu, another neighbour for a little of dog’s bane. The teacher and Binh Tu were very sad and disappointed because they thought that Mr Hac asked the dog’s bane to steal dogs to have food to live. Then suddenly Mr Hac died in the writhe. No one knew the reason except the teacher and Binh Tu.

– “Chi Pheo:

Chi Pheo was born in bastardly and left behind in an old brick-kiln. He was picked up, given and sold by many villagers. By the age of 20, he worked as a tenant farmer for Ly Kien. Ly Kien was the richest village mayor in Vu Dai village. His third wife loved Chi Pheo and harassed sexually with him. Ly Kien was jealous in love and found a reason to force Chi Pheo into the prison. After 7-8 years, Chi Pheo was addicted to alcohol and came back. Ly Kien had become “Ba Kien” (feudal honorary rank conferred on a village’s notable or rich man). Because Ba Kien had many enemy in that village and Chi Pheo lacked money, food and wine, Ba Kien used his money and changed Chi Pheo to become his tool to take revenge. Chi Pheo had to kill many people, burned many houses to have money to live. As a result, Chi Pheo was called a wicked devil and was been remote away from the villagers and became isolated.

Then Chi Pheo met Thi No, a very ugly and moonstruck woman in a bright moonlit night. They made love and hoped that a beautiful future would open for both. However, Thi No was debarred by her aunt because her aunt also thought Chi Pheo was a devil. Chi Pheo was lovelorn. He drank, cried, and realized that Ba Kien was his true and real enemy. He tool his knife to Ba Kien’s house, asked for his honest character, then killed Ba Kien and himself.

The short story Chi Pheo, marked a date in the young Vietnamese relist literature before the August 1945 Revolution. This short story was considered one of the masterpieces in the modern Vietnamese prose.

The short story Chi Pheo was to have a great influence on the new realist movement in Vietnam literature.

Nam Cao depicted the appalling poverty of the countryside under the yoke of local tyrants put there by the mandarins and the colonial authorities. Chi Pheo, the underdog with nothing more to lose, lives amongst these peasants stifled under the weigh of oppression. He has no option but to act as if he were a madman or an idiot.

• Song mon (When the life had gradually declined)

Thu was a very good man. He was ambitious and educated. Graduated from school, he went to Saigon to build his career, but the life was too hard that he had to come back his home country. During the time he lived in the country, Dich, one of his relatives established a private school in Hanoi. For the busy work, Dich rented Thu to work as the headmaster of his school. Thu controlled the school and also became one of the teachers with Oanh who was Dich’s girlfriend and San. Then the conflicts started from the daily life, related to the money and shared food happened frequently. Thu realized that the poor live had killed his dream, aspiration and ideals. Then the school was placed on full alert and had to close. Dich was at the point of death for his disease. Thu had come back his home country again and knew that his life would be mouldy, faded and he would “die not to live in time”.

It was said that this novel has very simple plot. Some argued that this novel has no plot. It means the plot has no important event change the feat of character. The event was only the reason for the writer described the inner world of characters.

B2. Ngo Tat To:

Ngo Tat To was born in 1894 and died in 1954 in the province of Bac Ninh. Coming from a family of poor scholars, he won the title of the First Laureate in the triennial exam in the province of Bac Ninh.

Soon after he abandoned his studies of Chinese classical literature to become a journalist and writer, he was a man of great learning and sensitivity as well as a creative writer.

Besides articles and essays of literature criticism, he wrote works of philosophy, historical novels, studies of life in peasant communities, and did translations of Chinese poetry.

Ngo Tat To placed his talents in the services of August revolution from its earliest days. He was an executive member of the Cultural Association for National Salvation, then of Vietnam Literature and Arts Association.

His novel, Tat den (“When the light is out”), a passionate indictment against a rotten and hated regime, is one of the most outstanding works of literary realism before the August Revolution, 1945.

Mrs Dau was a beautiful woman in a middle class family. Unfortunately her mother in law and her husband’s bother died at the same time. Mr Dau, her husband was too downhearted, got weak and lost his strength and his ability to work. Mrs Dau had to shoulder the responsibility for the family. And their family became the poorest in the village.

They had to pay their head money. Mrs Dau had to run everywhere to borrow money to pay the poll-tax for her husband while Mr Dau was arrested, beaten and prisoned. Mrs Dau had to sell their oldest girl who was only 7 years old and the dog together with the pups to have money to rescue her husband.

Mr Dau was released at midnight with his weakness and hunger. However, at the early morning, the body-guards and servants of the village mayor came and asked them to pay the poll-tax for the bother who was dead. Mrs Dau implored them not to arrest her husband but her husband was still beaten. Mrs Dau could not keep calm and hit back the body-guard and servant. She was arrested and forced to go to to the chief of district. The chief of district was oversexed, gave her money to make love with him. Mrs Dau had threw the money to his face and escaped. Then she had to give her youngest girl to the neighbour and went to sell the father of the chief of province her milk to have money because he had no teeth for too old and could not eat anything. At the midnight this old father came in her room to harass sexually. Mrs Dau ran out in the dark. “It was as dark as her future”.

B3. To Hoai (1920 – 2014)

To Hoai was the pen name. He was born in 1920 with his real name was Nguyen Sen. He was born and grown up in Ha Dong province where now has become Hanoi.

As a child and during his youth, he had to do many jobs to earn his living. And thanks to these chances, To Hoai had experienced many situations and visited places and lived in many rural villages. He was the close friend with Nam Cao, so the same as Nam Cao, To Hoai joined the Cultural Association for National Salvation in 1943. After the August Revolution in 1945, To Hoai followed soldiers to take part in the resistance against French in the North Western of Vietnam and mainly worked as a journalist.

Therefore, he understood very clearly the manners and customs in different areas and this knowledge became his literary material. As a result, To Hoai was called “the writer of customs” and the guiding star of “custom realism” in the modern Vietnamese literature.

He was also the writer of children with many novels and short stories translated into many languages. “De Men phieu luu ky” (Taking note about the adventures of the Criket) was the best and most popular in his career for children.

To Hoai had the wide range of the local words, the plain language and writing style. One of his best short story “Mr and Mrs A Phu” was composed in 1953 and was adapted to the film with the same name in 1961. After Indochina war, To Hoai mainly worked as a novelist but he also wrote many serries of short stories, notes and essays. His career was considered to be the greatest among contemporary Vietnamese writers in terms of both quality and quantity. To Hoai had experienced many important positions in the leadership of associations for writers in Vietnam and Asia. He won many honourable prizes for writers in Vietnam, like the first prize for the novelists by Vietnam’s Art Association in 1956, A prize for the novel “Home country” by Hanoi’s Art Association in 1970, Special prize for the novel “The Western of Vietnam” by Asia – Africa’s writers in 1970, Ho Chi Minh prize by Vietnam Government in 1996.

“Mr and Mrs A Phu” is a story about the life and the process of building and keeping the happiness, and the process of defending their home country from French colonialism. My was a young beautiful girl who came from a poor family in Hong Ngai village. Because her parents had been getting indebt to Pa Tra who was a landholder in Hong Ngai, My was kidnapped and arrested to become the Pa Tra’s daughter in law. She had been working very hard and being behaved like a horse or a buffalo in Pa Tra. When the spring came, she was tied to a stake while everyone around went to the festival of had a party. Only when A Su her husband was seriously wounded for fighting, she was untied to valet him.

A Phu was a poor young man but brave and very good at working. Because of being disagreement with My’s husband in the spring festival, A Phu was imposed a fine by Pa Tra’s family. Without money, A Phu had to become Pa Tra’s servant. Being careless, A Phu couldn’t control the herd of cattle. A tiger ate a cow. A Phu was tied to the stake where My was tied some days before. At night, My could not sleep for being cold and she saw A Phu was close to death on the stake. She untied for him and both of them help each other to escape from Pa Tra’s family.

They came to Phieng Sa, got married and started a new happy life. Then they met A Chau who was a communist party. However, the French invaders came back. Together with the people in Phieng Sa, they fought against the French to protect their village.

B4. Nguyen Minh Chau

Nguyen Minh Chau was born in 1930 into a peasant family in Nghe An province. Although in his home country, the life was poor and hard, and most of people lack education at that time, Nguyen Minh Chau was trained and educated very carefully in Hue and Vinh city. He joined Vietnam Army in 1950 but mainly worked as personnel in the arts and culture area. In 1960 he started writing and then quickly got his succeed with his novels and short story. In about the first half of the 1980 decade, Vietnamese literature still kept its writing style like the wartime, Nguyen Minh Chau was argued to be the writer who find the new way for Vietnamese prose after Vietnam war. He was considered to be the talent initiator for the contemporary Vietnamese literature. He died in 1989.

The short story “The forest of reed”:

Luc was a young man who was born and grew up in the Southern of Vietnam. When Vietnam was divided into two parts in Vietnam war, he had to go to the Northern and joined the Vietnam Northern army when his honeymoon had not finished. Once, he came back to visit Thai his wife and his father. Just after he said goodbye his family, a raid happened. In the next morning his wife and his father saw an unrecognized dead body on the river he had passed to come back the northern. They thought Luc was dead. Then Thai married Quang and took Luc’s farther into her family care for him. Even though Thai had many children with the second husband, she still loved Quang very much and had an altar for him in her new family. Suddenly Luc came back. All of them suffered great misery but no one could find the suitable solution for each of them. The story ended with Luc’s imagination about his future, in which he took his father to a mountainous area where was deserted; and there was only him and his father, to live an isolated life.

a. The reality:

Firstly, the use of feature films in the tertiary classroom in Vietnam began quite late because it required not only the good facilities but also the well-trained teacher skills. The first year Vietnam connected to the global Internet was 1997. This meant that the effect of the great information technology achievement on the way of teaching and learning in schools and universities was much later than many other countries in the world. In addition, according to the “Vietnam education development strategy from 2009 to 2020” by Vietnam Ministry of Education, there has been many proposed solutions to build a modern and scientific Vietnamese education. One was that teachers and lecturers must step up the application of information technology, to improve the quality of teaching, so that “by 2015, 80% of high school teachers and 100% of university lecturers must use proficiently information technology in teaching”. It can be inferred from this fact that not all of the lecturers have the good computer skills, and so the use of information technology in tertiary classroom was not popular and not compulsory. From the characters and the requirement of subjects, it is clear that the use of films in the natural Science subjects teaching was more usual than that in the social

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