Maxine Hong Kingston's Attack on Women Warrior

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  • Topic: The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston, China
  • Pages : 4 (1518 words )
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  • Published : January 22, 2007
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In Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior, Kingston attempts to reveal Chinese culture while explaining her own dissatisfaction with it. Kingston exaggerates her stories, not for the purpose of butchering, but rather so that she can give implications on how she thinks Chinese culture should improve. To further support this, Kingston repeatedly mentions the power of story telling to hint that legends are still significant to her. Yet, she also repeatedly critiques the negativity of her countrymen, but only so that she may urge better behavior from future generations. By illustrating Chinese culture in such a manner, Kingston attempts to unveil the culture of China in negativity so that injustices of past generations may not be repeated.

To persuade her countrymen to change their behavior, Kingston attempts to influence them by modifying Chinese legends. The main story she alters to serve her purpose is Mulan. Originally, the story of Mulan does not consist of "white tigers" or "swordswomen [that] jump over houses from a standstill" (19) let alone warriors who can "make a sword appear…control its slashing with [their] mind" (33). In fact, in the original Mulan, such mythic proportions do not exist…at least not for the woman protagonist. So why does Kingston endow her Mulan with such fantastical prowess? It is possible that Kingston is waging war in her own little way: a war against the Chinese stereotype of women. To strike out against this chauvinistic behavior, Kingston repeatedly mentions the stereotypes themselves: "Girls are maggots in the rice" "It is more profitable to raise geese than girls" (43) and other sayings that degrade the ability of women. In order to indicate her fight against the stereotypes, Kingston always accompanies the stereotypes with "a female avenger"(43). During No Name Woman, Chinese women are degraded from the start on their appearance: "Women looked like great sea snails—the corded wood, babies, and laundry they carried were...
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