Introduction of Ivory comb will provide more information about the background of the composition and the content and artistic features of the short story Ivory Comb. Let’s have a look together!
1. Composing Circumstances
It can be said that “Ivory comb” is the work that made the name of writer Nguyen Quang Sang.
The work was written in 1966 when the author was active in the Southern battlefield during the years of resistance against the US and was included in the story collection of the same name. Talking about the circumstances of writing “Ivory comb”, Nguyen Quang Sang confided: “In 1966, I returned to the South from the North. The Dong Thap Muoi region is vast with white water. I took a boat deep into the forest and lived in a house on stilts hanging from the tops of a tree. At that time, the traffic group was all female. I was very impressed with the story of a messenger girl with a white ivory comb. After listening to her story, I sat down to write one day and one night to complete this work.
2. Unique content
“Ivory comb” tells about the father-son relationship of Mr. Sau and baby Thu in the context of the war in the South. The story has deeply engraved in the minds of readers about the terrible devastation of war. War puts elderly mothers at risk of losing children, widows and fatherless children. However, in that tragic and heroic atmosphere, the father-son relationship still shines eternally.
Sau did not receive his father until the last moments before he had to go to war. On the battlefield, he made an ivory comb for the baby, he died in battle and the comb was delivered to Thu’s hand by his comrades.
The story revolves around the child’s mood before and after recognizing his father. It is built over two basic scenarios. The first was the meeting between father and son Sau after eight years of separation, but ironically, Thu did not recognize her father, by the time she realized and expressed her affection, Mr. Sau had to leave again. In the second situation, at the base, Mr. Sau put all his love and longing for his son into making an ivory comb, but he sacrificed himself before he could give that gift to his daughter. Thus, the story has gone from the intense love of little Thu for her father to the deep and passionate love that Mr. Sau has for his child. It can be seen that this is the perilous situation that we often encounter in war.
The story is told in the first person, from the perspective of Uncle Ba, Mr. Sau’s fighting friend and also an eyewitness, participating in the story. With this narrative, the narrator interjects comments, thoughts, sympathies, and shares with the character without losing its objectivity. Describes the subtle and profound psychological development of the character, especially for the character Thu. The language of the story is boldly local in the South. All of these have contributed to the emotional expression of the deep, deep and beautiful father-son relationship in the tumultuous circumstances of the war. The story also makes readers understand the loss and pain that war has caused to so many people and families.
See more: Tell me about your hometown and tell me your feelings
With sincere but profound feelings through “Ivory comb”, Nguyen Quang Sang has shown a truth: Enemy bombs and bullets can only destroy human life, but human emotions – sacred fatherly love that no bullet can kill.
State the circumstances of composing the story “Ivory comb” (Nguyen Quang Sang)
1. General understanding
a. The meaning of the title
“Ivory comb” Is one title or express content, ideas and themes topic of the work. It is an artistic image containing deep, sacred father-son feelings. With Thu, Ivory comb is a memento of the father, the love and affection of a soldier’s father in the war zone for him.
Mr. Sau went to war. It was not until his daughter was eight years old that he had the opportunity to visit home. Little Thu did not recognize her father because the scar on her face made her father no longer resemble the person in the photo that she knew. I treat my father like a stranger. By the time Thu recognized her father and the strong father-son relationship awakened in her, it was also time for Mr. Sau to leave. In the base area, the father put all his love and compassion for his child into making an ivory comb to give to his little daughter. In a battle, he died. Before he closed his eyes, he even handed the comb to his friend.
c. Circumstances composing
– The short story The Ivory Comb was written in 1966 (when the author was active in the Southern battlefield) and included in the story collection of the same name.
d. Layout (3 parts)
– Part 1 (from beginning to “I don’t want to bring him back either”): Mr. Sau returned home to visit his family during his three-day leave, but Thu did not recognize him as his father.
– Part 2 (continued to “slow down while talking”): Baby Thu realizes her father and the father and son’s breakup.
– Part 3 (remaining part): Mr. Sau died on the battlefield and the story of the ivory comb.
2. Find out details
a. Unexpected story situations that are natural and reasonable:
The story revolves around two characters: Mr. Sau and baby Thu. Joining the resistance, Mr. Sau was injured, leaving a large scar on his face. Because of that scar, during his visit to Mr. Sau’s house, he suffered spiritual pain: the daughter he always loved and longed to meet for seven years because of the scar but refused to accept her father despite the first meeting. This child is his only chance of closeness and love because he is about to gather to the North, not knowing when to return.
– It is an unexpected, twisted but natural and reasonable situation:
Baby Thu has not seen her father for a long time. The image of the father in his mind was only etched through an old photograph. The father in it is very gentle! And Mr. Sau, with that fierce scar, is so different from the man in the photo!
+ This surprised little Thu because Mr. Sau’s face was now too strange. And Thu’s reaction of not recognizing his father also surprised Mr. Sau because it was completely contrary to Mr. Sau’s wishes and fantasies about family reunification after many years of separation. But it is also very natural, suitable for the psychology and emotions of a child.
+ The situation became more and more confusing, making the reader nervously follow each page of the story because Mr. Sau’s time at home was not much and even though there was only one day left, the child still decided not to accept his father.
– It can be considered as a challenging situation, a challenge for the child to accept his father, and the father to prove it to the child. Through this situation, the deep and beautiful father-son relationship is shown more clearly.
=> The story situation helps the writer clearly show Sau’s deep love for his son and Thu’s special personality:
– In the first minute of seeing his son again after many years of separation, Mr. Sau could not contain his joy, but ironically, in response to his rush, little Thu appeared suspicious and evasive.
– In three short days, the more Mr. Sau wanted to be near his son, yearned to hear him call “daddy”, the more cold, aloof, and aloof Thu appeared, the more determined he was not to call him father.
– Thu’s behavior with Mr. Sau like this proves that she has a strong personality, she only loves her father when she is sure that it is her father. In the moment of parting, Thu’s deep feelings for her distant father, which had been suppressed for so long, burst out strongly, in a hurry and in a hurry.
– Mr. Sau’s affection for baby Thu was expressed concentratedly and deeply when he was at the base. Your advice prompted me to think about making an ivory comb for you. With a comb, he eased the nostalgia for his son and looked forward to seeing him again soon. But he sacrificed himself before he could hand the gift to his daughter.
b. The deep and beautiful father-son love in the war situation:
The father-son relationship is shown through both characters, especially Mr. Sau’s character. The author does not pay attention to depicting the heroic part of Mr. Sau’s life, but only focuses on portraying the father with deep, noble feelings and pain and misfortune in his life.
Baby character Thu
– At first, when Mr. Sau came back, little Thu refused to acknowledge his father: refused to obey Mr. Sau’s words, did not call “father”, said nothing, threw the piece of fish roe that Mr. Sau took for him from the bowl, left his grandmother’s house when angry with Mr. Sau…
– After being explained thoroughly by her grandmother, Thu realized that it was her father. Thu’s scream “Ba…a…a…ba!” contains all the love, nostalgia and regret. The girl decided to “don’t let her father go anymore”, “kiss her hair, kiss her neck, kiss her shoulder and kiss her father’s long scar on her cheek”…
– Growing up, Thu became a brave communicator, joined the resistance war, followed in her father’s footsteps, so that his father’s ideals would always be bright. The father and son did indeed “become comrades on the march”.
Mr. Sau’s character
* Father days at home:
– Excited mood, emotional when meeting your child: the scar on his cheek is red, twitching; trembling voice.
– The pain of being rejected by a girl: her face darkens and looks very pitiful, her arms hang down as if broken.
– Try to find ways to talk and comfort your child: pick up fish eggs for them.
– Anger and beatings also stem from the pain of a father who is rejected by his son.
– The moment of parting, the happiness of being called “daddy” by Thu made him cry.
* The father in the war zone:
– How much love and nostalgia he poured into making an ivory comb, a commemorative gift he promised to give his daughter on the day of his departure: “In his spare time, he sat and saw each comb tooth until it was completed, In the nights when I miss my children, I take out a comb to look at them.”
– The ivory comb for him is a keepsake, a soul-carrying object, containing so much love and nostalgia for his beloved daughter. The comb is a comfort and encouragement for him in difficult days. It can be said that the ivory comb is a symbol of father and son affection – a sacred, deep and eternal affection.
– Being seriously injured, it was only when he returned the ivory comb to his friend with the message that he would give it to Thu, that he could rest assured that he would close his eyes.
c. Content value
– Story excerpt Ivory comb deeply and beautifully expressed the deep and beautiful father-son relationship in the tumultuous plight of the war.
d. Artistic value
– Unexpected situations that are natural and reasonable
– The art of psychological depiction and character building, especially children’s characters.
Mind map of the work “Ivory comb”: