The Stereotypical Personality

Topics: Maxine Hong Kingston, Fear, Infant Pages: 3 (1305 words) Published: September 3, 2008
In society today, we are often quick to label people or groups of people as a certain stereotype, but when we take the time to think about it there is good and bad to every stereotype. For example, Mexicans are known for cramming more people in a car than there are seat belts for, and many think they are poor and can only afford one car, but I view it as carpooling and they are saving the environment by only using one car. In Maxine Hong Kingston’s autobiographical essay “No Name Woman”, she is told the story of her aunt who meets a terrible fate, and the labels that the village has stuck to her name are covering up the truth about who her aunt really was. Kingston replaces these old stereotypes by giving alternatives to the aunt’s lifestyle, so people can see that there is more that one perspective on every situation, and by understanding the villager’s fears toward her aunt she can get past that to see her aunt as a real person.

In the story “No Name Woman”, Kingston’s aunt becomes pregnant outside her marriage, but the circumstance of how was not told to Kingston. So she comes up with her own alternatives, different stories that she can use to replace the stereotypes that her family has labeled her. She first tries to cover up the label “adulteress” that the village had given her by thinking that it was not her aunt’s fault, because “women in old China did not choose” (Kingston 30), and her aunt had been raped. This is one alternative that Kingston had invented in which she could have got pregnant, but it would not have been her fault and she was called an “adulteress” anyway. Adultery is "voluntary sexual intercourse", rape is not "voluntary" and yet the village was quick to label it "adultery". Kingston also looks at this situation from another view, thinking that maybe she was what the villagers labeled her as but it was because". . . she wanted him to look back" (Kingston 31). Her aunt may have liked to dress up and look good, "...she often worked at...
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