Outdated Expectations of Women in Vietnamese Traditions Via “Truyện Kiều” and Its Impact on Women Nowadays


Kim Nguyen

Faculty Mentor(s)

Paula Collucci (English)


Truyện Kiều is written by Nguyễn Du, who is one of the most prestigious poets in Vietnam. This poem is written in the early 19th century based on a Chinese novel, Đoạn Trường Tân Thanh, by Thanh Tâm Tài Nhân. In Truyện Kiều, as well as many other Vietnamese or Chinese literature, the principles of Confucius root deep in the societal morals since centuries ago. Even nowadays, Confucian principles are still the core of Vietnamese education system. Through analyzing the culture and research about the Vietnamese society then and now, this paper breaks down how the patriarchal principles of Confucius have built a culture that has such high standards and expectation on women while not providing them any resources. This is a close focus on the suffer and hardship of many Asian women, and the responsibilities they have to maneuver through life while keeping up with the cultural standards, especially ones related to gender roles and being a “proper lady”.

Keywords: Feminism, power dynamic, Vietnamese tradition


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