T LIT 332: Asian American Literature
Dr. Peter Bacho
Due Date: February 18, 2012
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
(Synopsis of the plot, an evaluation of the main themes, an assessment of the author’s artistic success or lack therof.)
Maxine Hong Kingston's, The Woman Warrior is an exploration of the various obstacles and adversity that many women face within their own cultural framework. She used stories of women from her own culture to dig into her own deep cultural history. Kingston is a first generation Chinese American and she uses this book to explore and reconcile both sides of her heritage.
“You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born” (3). Kingston is told a story about her aunt from her father’s side that, while her husband is in the United States, becomes pregnant. Such shame and degradation is brought to the entire family when “No Name Woman” can no longer hide her condition from her family and other villagers. I thought this was a very poetic way to deliver a sex education class that would deter a young girl from thoughts of experimenting. Artistically speaking, I could feel the shame “No Name Woman” brought to herself and her family. Committing adultery came with harsh punishment and that punishment included the shame of the entire family and the erasure of the aunt’s name. Unable to face her family, she kills herself and her baby jumping into the well and drowning.
Kingston learned many life lessons from talk-story. She writes, that, “When we Chinese girls listened to the adults talk-story, we learned that we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves” (19). Fa Mu Lan seemed to be a beautiful chant with a life lesson that even though women were to become wives and slaves, they too had the... [continues]
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