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Nguyen Du’s The Tale of Kieu: Revolution in Transition


The Tale of Kieu by Nguyen Du involves a famous Vietnamese story of a young girl attempting to correct her past life mistakes through continuing adversity in her life. The Vietnamese girl, by the name Kieu, is peddled into prostitution and unceasingly gets cheated by men in the context of promising her love. There is only one man named Kim Troung whose love promise to Kieu is not in vain, and he also pledges himself to her. After Kim Trong and Kieu’s love vows, Kim’s uncle dies, and he is called off to go and attend to his family. Later on, robbers break into Kieu’s house to vandalize and steal, and during the instance, the thieves tie up her brother and father. That forces Kieu to sell herself into marriage to save her brother and father. After engaging in marriage, the man who married her later turns around and sells Kieu to a brothel, marking the start of her life in prostitution. Nguyen-Du’s story of Kieu has reflected a better understanding of Vietnamese culture based on different values.

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Tale of Kieu’s passage Analyses (Pg. 9-35)

In Du’s Tale of Kieu, diversity is one of the most charming parts and the easiness of the characters. Personally, Kieu represents a range of features, and dedication is one of the characteristics. Kieu’s dedication in her life activities communicates the inspiration of Buddhism in Vietnamese culture (Jamieson 1993). Kieu is fighting for the most significant thing in her life to redeem herself from her past, even if it means continuing with the prostitution pain, deception, and lost love. Sometimes she gets saddened by her life situations, but that does not limit her from continuing with her work. One of the reasons why Nguyen Du chose a woman as the main character in that poem is the emphasis on Buddhism (Duiker 1995). In Vietnam, the Buddhist faith is a common religion, and in Buddhism, a man can closely reach enlightenment compared to a woman.

Passage’s Perception Regarding Vietnamese Society and Cultural Values

The Vietnamese cultural values highlight the significance of community and family. Its crucial values that encirclements the ethics of Confucianism include duty, harmony, honor, education, respect, and family allegiance (Van Bich 1999). Traditionally, in Vietnamese society, children used to be taught self-forsaking and making sacrifices to ensure family harmony and welfare (Van Bich 1999). This is well seen in the passage when Kieu decided to sacrifice herself to marriage for her father and her brother to be set free. In Vietnam, fidelity to a person’s family was total and involved gratifying one’s tasks and proper conduct (Duiker 1995). On the matters regarding family, the idea of extended family practice in Vietnam broke down as the perception of romantic love bloomed amongst some young individuals and the introduction of new marriage forms.

The tales’ reflection on Vietnums Culture

The story of Kieu can aid in getting acquainted with Vietnams’ culture in different ways. The passage provides a helpful understanding of Vietnamese culture by highlighting religious values, social ideas, and problems. The issues of family, marriage, identity, and gender are clearly and artistically relayed. Therefore, through reading the passage, Vietnam can be well understood in terms of different cultural values.


Nguyen-Du tale Kieu has significantly helped in coming up with moral strategies to solve problems in society. There is a need to focus on the status of women in society since they are also needed when resolving conflicts, as portrayed in Kieu’s story. Genter-based torturers or taking advantage of one’s identity during problem-solving should be eradicated in today’s society as both genders deserve to be treated equally.


Duiker, William. 1995. Vietnam: Revolution in Transition, 2nd Ed. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, 15-29.

Jamieson, Neil L. 1993. Understanding Vietnam, pp. 1-41. University of California Press.

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Van Bich, Pham. 1999. The Vietnamese Family in Change: The case of the Red River Delta. Curzon Press, 7-43.

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