Theme: Silence (finding one’s own personal voice)
Kingston gives a voice to many of the voiceless women in the book, resulting in them discovering their identities as individuals. The theme of finding one’s own personal voice is a major theme in Kingston’s memoir. She makes various references to the physical and emotional struggle throughout the text by seeing the silence of the women in her family and Chinese culture. By adding her experience as a Chinese-American woman she tries to discover her voice. For Kingston, silence basically equals to a lack of voice, which she associates with the loss of identity as a woman. In No Name Woman, you can see that Kingston fears that if she stays silent and doesn’t find her own voice, she would risks becoming a substitute for her nameless aunt, who remained silent her entire life. When writing No Name Woman, Kingston reacts against the family imposed silence and tells everyone of her aunt. Her aunt’s silence, by refusing to name the father of her child, protects the man and simultaneously oppresses her, “She may have gone to pigsty as a last act of responsibility: she would protect the child as she had protected its father,” (Kingston, 15). Kingston gives a voice to the silent woman by writing the aunt s story and theorizing how her aunt became pregnant. In doing this, she removes her aunt’s guilt and solidifies her identity as a Chinese-American woman. Kingston says, “My aunt could not have been the lone romantic who gave up everything for sex…Some man had commanded her to lie with him and be his secret evil,” (Kingston, 6). I think Kingston feels that to remain silent about her aunt would be the same as rejecting her own sense of self. The theme of silence in the book is also linked to the cultural problems that Kingston comes across throughout her own life. Kingston notes that “The Chinese I know hide their names; sojourners take new names when their lives change and guard their real names with silence,” (Kingston,...
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