Chi Pham (PhD) is a tenured researcher at the Institute of Literature, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Hanoi. She received a PhD in Literary Theory in Vietnam and a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside (USA). She is the secretary of the Association for the Study of Literature and Ecology in ASEAN (ASLE-ASEAN). E-mail: chiphamvvh@gmail.com


Myth and Animal Resistance in Vietnamese Animal Stories: The Case of “Raw Fish” and “Giát Market Day”

Abstract: It was not until ecological criticism was introduced into the intellectual life of Vietnam, especially the field of literary studies, in the early 2010s, that the cultural relationship with animals was questioned. Vietnamese ecocritics started reading about such a cultural relationship by questioning the absence of animals’ subjectivity. For example, Tran Ngoc Hieu and Dang Thai Ha (2017) attempt to reveal the voices of animals in post-war Vietnamese narratives, pointing to the absence of animals’ agency in war narratives as a sacrifice for the nation’s anti-colonial struggle. These authors read the image of the human-ape in Bảo Ninh’s The Sorrow of War as a metaphor about the inability of animals to have their forgotten tragedies and suffering in wartime recognized by humans. Following these authors’ arguments, this paper analyzes descriptive narratives of animals in two Vietnamese stories: “Raw Fish” (2005, Nguyễn Ngọc Thuần) and “Giát Market Day” (1988, Nguyễn Minh Châu). It aims to highlight how dreams and myths warn humans about the resistance of their domestic animals.
Keywords: animal’s resistance, Vietnamese animal fiction, children’s stories, myths, dreams