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A General Overview Of Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Woman Warrior" Done For An English Class.

1072 words - 4 pages

Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior is a book of blending cultures, and woman's rights. It vaguely ties five short stories and anecdotes to these themes. Kingston puts to use, a lot of symbolic figures in the book, and Chinese folk tales. The whole book revolves around the author, and her struggles with her gender, and nationality. The book starts out centered around Kingston's aunt and her baby in a story titled "No Name Woman", as told to Kingston by her mother, Brave Orchid. Brave Orchid describes to the young Kingston that the story is a secret to the family. She goes on into the story, speaking of the suicide of her Kingston's aunt, back in her village in China, her aunt became pregnant before she was married, and premarital sex was a major taboo in their culture. Nobody in the family acclaimed this pregnancy but everyone, including the villagers had noticed it. One night the villagers, wearing masks, raided the families hut and destroyed goods, slaughtered their livestock, and destroyed the family's crop in punishment for the aunt. They could only stand back and watch in disbelief as the villagers pillaged their home. The aunt later gave birth to the baby in a pigsty, which was an allusion to old Chinese folk lore women who feared their babies to be taken by the gods would have them in a pigsty, where the gods would not take them. She later threw herself and the baby into the family well, where they were later found dead. Brave Orchid always referred to the aunt as the "no named aunt". The story was the mother's anecdote on premarital sex to Kingston and warned her of the results. The story set the major theme of the book, woman's worth in china. A nation that wastes nothing, not even the chicken gizzards, yet females viewed as a waste. Kingston adds her two bits to the story, reasoning that a male field hand probable ordered her aunt to have sex with him. The family cursed the aunt calling her a "ghost" and claimed that she had never been born. Hence the title, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. The title is an allusion to the Fa Mulan story to which Kingston relates to in the chapter "White Tigers", and the ghosts in her life are her culture, and the stories of the past.She has a reoccurring theme of keeping quiet and silence in the book as the book starts out with Brave Orchid telling Kingston to keep quiet. There are many incidences with speech in the book. Kingston, Being a Chinese-American has to be bi-lingual, and as an infant, Brave Orchid cuts Kingston's frenum in order for her to speak both of the languages. She is an advocate of the woman voice especially the Chinese woman voice. There is an incident in the book where Kingston tortures a young student in the bathroom one day, in an attempt to make her talk. A prominent feature of the book is also talk-story, which many of the characters of the book shared amongst each other. Her mother also shares a lot of talk-story with Kingston, which...

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1285 words - 6 pages accounts of her aunt’s demise. Kingston’s embellishment of an unknown half-truth gives reasoning to the underlined symbolism of her story. Raised by traditionalists, despite the advancing times, will still not speak of the true occurrences of the aunt who was “never born.” According to Kingston, to this day, she remains unaware regarding the details of her aunt, only sentiment and speculation. Works Cited Kingston, Maxine Hong. "No Name Women." Donald McQuade, and Robert Atwan. The Writer's Presence: A Pool of Readings. 7th edition. Bedford/St. Martins: Boston and New York, 2012. 458-470. Print

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