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Woman Warrior Essay

1411 words - 6 pages

Maxine Hong Kingston, the "woman warrior" and the author of "The Woman Warrior" have gone through hardships growing up in a Chinese immigrant family, torn between both Chinese and American traditions and ultimately learned to embrace both as she became an adult. She uses her power of words to descript the American experiences of several females in the novel "The Woman Warrior"; Moon Orchid, Brave Orchid, Maxine herself, and the Girl Who Wouldn't Talk. They all have different experiences in America. Although all four women are Chinese living in America, but surprisingly they all have different experience as their lives differ greatly from one another in the novel.Moon Orchid, the sister of ...view middle of the document...

Brave Orchid offers to take care of her; however, her insanity went as far as turning on and off the lights constantly and the closing and opening of shades. She was ultimately put into a mental asylum where she died. She is a symbol of the terrible results of culture clashes for those who are unable to deal with it. Brave Orchid however, is the opposite of Moon Orchid's weakness.Brave Orchid's adjustment to the American life was more successful than that of Moon Orchid's, however an agonizing and slow process, as she went from independent and well-respected doctor in China to a "slave" at the laundry. Her American experience has been full of contradiction because of where she stood wit regards to Chinese heritage. On one hand she considers women as useless and "better to raise geese and girls", but on the other hand, she sought for independence and she is a woman herself. Most of the time in the novel, she is depicted as a person full of coldness and cruelty, as shown with the degrading of Maxine's achievements and her comments about the money she spent delivering Maxine while girls are free in China, however, her tenderness and passion came alive when she guarded and took care of Moon Orchid when she became insane. Another contradiction is the fact that she lived in America, but she still considered China as her home, as she yearned to return one day. One of the things Brave Orchid was never able to adjust is the fact of calling all non-Chinese "ghosts", as there were the "newspaper ghost", "teach ghost", etc. Readers can see her success at culture exchanges in the end of Chapter 4, where she calls Maxine her "little dog" which is a phrase used for affection and understanding, because she asked Maxine to come back and live with them in Stockton, California, however, Maxine refused. This is the understanding of the idea of independence from Brave Orchid, as she began to realize the idea of women's independence in America as compared to the "prison" back in China.Maxine's experience in America has been confusing due to the talk stories that her mother has told her, because of the fact she has never been to China, thus, she cannot tell which facts and which are fictions, therefore, she often has creative imaginations about China and her relatives that she has heard of. Her achievements were often dismissed, such as straight A's in school, trophies, and honors she earned in school were all disregarded by Brave Orchid and the Chinatown community, because in their mind, an education can not progress a woman but only detain them to a lower level. Throughout this memoir, Maxine has certainly surprised the readers with her unexpected actions. One day she is the rebellious Maxine who yelled angrily with her mother about all the things she did that were against the...

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