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The Woman Warrior Essay

919 words - 4 pages

Throughout Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir, The Woman Warrior, physical and emotional struggles in Chinese women’s lifestyle are exhibited . Each of the five chapters display a story of a woman who has had an influence on her present day life. The struggle is focused on Chinese women and how they redefine the stereotype of them being lesser than men. Beginning in the first chapter, Kingston uses the story of her Aunt who went against her village and got “punished [for] acting as if she could have a private life, secret and apart from the [villagers]”(13). Although Kingston never learns what her aunt's real name was, the symbolic act of naming the woman No Name Woman honors this forgotten ...view middle of the document...

The narrator not only learns a lesson from the story, but also applies the story to her present day life as a Chinese-American. She states in the novel, “Those of us in the first American generations have had to figure out how the invisible world the emigrants built around our childhoods fits in solid America” ( 5). No-Name Woman is used as an example to show how women in the past defied the position that the society has placed them in.
Much of The Woman Warrior is a struggle between mother and daughter, daughter and society, and more, making the warrior motif appropriate. Fa Mu Lan becomes the standard by which Kingston measures and compares herself to. In part of this chapter Kingston follows a bird to the top of a mountain until she reaches a hut and is welcomed by two elderly people. Her chasing a bird represents a form of freedom and separation from a village she once inhabited. Kingston then bears a suit of men attire ready to lead the peasants through conquests in her vision of becoming Fa Mu Lan. Yet, in this fantasy Kingstons does not just take the role of a male soldier, but a female avenger as well. The second section is a contrast between her life in America with the fantasy of becoming a Woman Warrior. She expresses how women were treated by expressing things that were commonly said such as “Better to raise geese than girls”(Kingston,43). Her own family still looks down upon women assuming the males are the dominant in every aspect of life.The significance of the White Tiger chapter is it reveals the rigid customs and traditions of which she grew up in.
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