Ghost Story In Nguyen's Black-Eyed Women

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The purpose of a ghost story is to leave the reader feeling frightened and unaware of what the truth of reality is. Nguyen's Black-Eyed Women flips all our perceptions of what a ghost is and why they visit the living. The ghost stories told in this story affect the narrator by forcing her to confront the discomfort of her reality. The narrator realizes she has been ignoring discomfort about her brother dying for her, and s the guilt and that she lived. She loses her identify, and sense of security, however her brother's ghost arrives to mend this disconnect. Her brother's ghost is the, "living embodiment of a disturbing possibility: that human privileges are quite fragile" (213). The presence of the ghost forces the narrator to realize that…show more content…
The narrator is dealing with the guilt of living while her brother died for her, and she feels obligated to his ghost. When the narrator is aware that her brother is knocking on her door, she hesitates to answer, but she, "reminds myself that he had given up his life for me. The least I could do was open the door"(7). The narrator not welcoming her brother in with open arms shows that she is emotionally closed. This should be a moment of rejoice, a time to be comforted by her brother, but instead she is avoiding it because she has ignored her own emotions. Her brother use to be a source of distraction for her during bombings as a child, she describes, "He whispered ghost stories into my ear to distract me. Except, he insisted, they were not ghost stories"(6). When her brother was alive he was the source of distraction, using ghost stories to take her mind off the troubles of the war and the explosion of bombs. However, now that he is a ghost he is no longer the distraction, he is forcing her to face reality. Before he came to visit her she did not feel obligated to think about her life after the boat but now that he is present she is forced to deal with the fact she has been living her life with a lack of consciousness ever since her brother's…show more content…
It is also taken away from the people on the nameless blue boat. The narrator describes when the pirates kidnap the women on board saying," Everyone fell silent, except those being dragged away, screaming and crying"(15). In this scene, the living are becoming the dead. Those left to live, fall silent, they are the people who live but do not tell their story. This is a moment where the living become the dead, because they start living a life of silence. Like ghost these silenced stories are forced to wander through their minds but never be confronted. The author also experiences this state of living dead, and this is only brought to her attention when her brother says, "You died too you just don't know it"(17). It is only when the ghost brings attention to this lack of consciousness that the narrator is forced to face her silence. She realizes that her silence has been slowly killing her saying, "I wept…for all the words never spoken between my mother, my father, and me"(17). By not sharing their story, whether it be to one another or a third party, that she has taken away value from her life. Hiding away this experience has only hindered her life and caused her to loss her sense of identity. The narrator speaks to this saying, "Most of all I cried for those other girls who had vanished and never come back, including myself"(18). She is bringing attention to
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