English II Pre-DP
Ms. Tami Davis
December 6, 2012
“No Name Woman” Commentary Essay
In this passage from “No Name Woman,” Maxine Hong Kingston imagines what old world China was like, and paints a picture of a repressive, strictly ordered society in which people were essentially unable to have private lives. Everything had to be done for the sake of the family’s or village’s well-being. In such a world, Kingston’s aunt represents the worst kind of transgressor, one whose private lusts disrupted the social order and threatened the very existence of the village. Kingston uses interesting and imaginative stylistic techniques to represent the “circle” or “roundness” of Chinese life and the struggle this creates for both the village and No Name Woman.
The village that Kingston’s aunt lives in was very strict and had their own set rules on how society should live. “If my aunt had betrayed the family at the time of large grain yields and peace, when many boys were born, and wings were being built on many houses, perhaps she might have escaped such severe punishment.” (11-14) Kingston explains to the reader that if the village is doing really well in maintaining stability, then maybe she could get away with having a child out of wedlock. But because this happened while the village is not doing so well at the time, they made her pay for what she had done. No Name Woman’s scenario shows the reader the unfair rules the village abides by. If the village is doing well, they will push any problem associated with their rules of “roundness” aside, but if they are not doing so well at the time a rule is broken or a problem erupts, they will make that person suffer the consequence of their action.
The villagers blamed her for all the unfortunate events that were happening in the village at the time. “People who refused fatalism because they could invent small resources insisted on culpability. Deny accidents and wrest fault from the stars” (33-36) in these two...