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Kingston And Chin Essay

1911 words - 8 pages

Chinese-American authors Frank Chin and Maxine Hong Kingston pioneered Asian-American literature. They condemn each other’s work for differences in cultural interpretation and dispute their own and each other’s prescribed gender roles given by both Chinese and American society. Chin and Kingston have differing views on their Chinese culture; in addition to their conflict on culture they criticize the others work declaring it to be a misrepresentation of each other’s heritage.
They have opposing views on male and female roles in Chinese culture and do not agree on what it means to be a Chinese-American in modern society. These differences lead to their literary and verbal assaults. Each ...view middle of the document...

In the midst of this rich culture, racism and bigotry abounded, exposing Chin to the unpleasant side of mixed societies. Chin believes he has, “through the use of a distinctive Chinatown argot, ‘captured the rhythms and accents of Chinese America without which its culture cannot be truly represented.”’ Essentially his belief is that one can only be closely familiar with Chinese-American culture by living in Chinatown. This belief disregards and undermines others who have not grown up in that atmosphere, thus declaring them to not be truly Chinese-American.
These very different childhoods helped shape Chin and Kingston into the literary giants that they each would become, despite the opposing upbringings. Chin growing up in Chinatown experienced traditional modes of cultural thinking that made him feel as if Kingston did not represent their heritage appropriately. He wrote her “elaboration of this version of history, in autobiography and autobiographical fiction, is simply a device for destroying history and literature.” Chin despised the asexual stereotype that existed for Chinese males and detested that the Asian-American females, in his perception, and in Kingston’s case had abandoned their counterparts for white males. This perceived abandonment reaffirmed to Chin his belief that Asian-American men need to reassert themselves as examples of masculinity.
Kingston, having been ridiculed by Chin, experienced his condemnation for her writing style and progressive views, in addition to her Woman Warrior being victim to his satire. This encouraged her to respond by criticizing his sexual insecurities and condemns him for being stuck in old world thinking. Kingston viewed her heritage not only through the eyes of the Chinese but also through the eyes of an American. Kingston’s upbringing in Stockton, California influenced her perception of society and view on gender roles to be more progressive than traditional Chinese culture. Chin’s upbringing in Chinatown, shaped his more traditional views on society and the family unit that tend to be widely accepted in the old world. This division in upbringings led both Chin and Kingston on different literary paths, yet mainstream success was reserved for Kingston. Kingston’s success was related to the progressive era in connection with her view on females and sexuality, both views that Chin did not endorse.
Chin’s accusations “Asian American women have abandoned Asian American men for sexual affairs with white men or for political and sexual relations with white feminists, and that Asian American men have similarly become effeminate and queer” led to his desire to strengthen the image Chinese men. Chin felt it necessary to criticize and correct the false identity that so many American men and women had fallen victim to and criticize Kingston for giving into the stereotype by marrying a white man. These accusations and un-acceptance of Kingston’s personal choices in mate undoubtedly affected the...

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