The Woman Warrior v.s. Chinese Culture
The Woman Warrior, written by Maxine Hong Kingston in 1976, depicts the stories of five women – Kingston’s “No-Name” aunt; a famous historical female warrior called “Fa Mu Lan”; Kingston’s mother, Brave Orchid; Kingston’s aunt, Moon Orchid; and Kingston herself. The book integrates Kingston’s lived experience as well as the spoken stories that Kingston’s mother told her, combining Chinese culture, myths, history and beliefs all together. The Woman Warrior receives wide praises from critics, saying that the book provides a glimpse into the real part of Chinese culture, from an American Chinese perspective. However, the Woman Warrior also receives some misinterpretations with regards to Chinese culture. In response, Maxine Hong Kingston writes, To say we are inscrutable, mysterious, exotic denies us our common humanness, because it says that we are so different from a regular human being that we are by our nature intrinsically unknowable. … Nor do we want to be called not inscrutable, exotic, mysterious. These are false ways of looking at us. We do not want to be measured by a false standard at all. (Cultural Mis-reading by American Reviewers 96) It is always too hasty to make judgment on a culture after merely reading one book. And it is usually unfair to make judgment on the culture based on the assumption that “this culture is so different from any other ones.“ Every culture has its unique aspects, and it is hard to find a universal standard that can be relied on in order to make judgment. Therefore, it is really hard to have a general idea about Chinese culture by reading the Woman Warrior only.
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