The woman warrior silence theme

Why does Kingston begin The Woman Warrior with her mother's admonishment, "You must not tell anyone"?

The woman warrior silence theme

For the many women who are voiceless, Kingston supplies the language these silent women need if they are to discover viable, individualized identities. Beginning with the first chapter, "No Name Woman," Kingston breaks the family-imposed silence that surrounds the secret of an aunt, whom she names No Name Woman, who became pregnant by someone other than her husband.

No Name Woman refuses to name the father of her child, protecting him with her silence, which simultaneously victimizes her: A nameless woman suggests someone with neither a story nor a voice. My aunt haunts me — her ghost drawn to me because now, after fifty years of neglect, I alone devote pages of paper to her.

If women do not have voices in traditional Chinese culture, then the talk-stories and legends that mothers pass on to daughters may indeed be considered subversive tales and instructions.

One such talk-story, the legend of the Chinese woman warrior Fa Mu Lan, is a constant reminder to young Kingston that women can transcend socially imposed limitations.

As a child, Kingston imagines herself to be like Fa Mu Lan, who saves not only her family but her community. But again her protest is whispered, her "voice unreliable.

Because Brave Orchid, despite her many years in America, does not speak English, she is effectively voiceless in her new world. Certainly, she thinks, the drugstore purposefully delivered the drugs to bring bad luck on her family. Brave Orchid forces Kingston, as the oldest child, to demand "reparation candy" from the druggist, a chore that Kingston finds embarrassing.

The Woman Warrior

They want to fix up your tongue to speak for them. The episode in which Moon Orchid reluctantly confronts her Americanized husband demonstrates how essentially voiceless a Chinese woman is who lives in a traditionally patriarchal society.

Facing her husband after decades apart, Moon Orchid is unable to voice her years of rage and grief: You can barely talk to me. If she finds that traditional Chinese society silences women, she also discovers that well-behaved females in American society are equally expected to be quiet.

In order to feel even partially accepted in American culture, young Kingston retreats behind an emotional wall and loses her voice: Apparently we whispered even more softly than the Americans.

Most of us eventually found some voice, however faltering. In one poignant and painful episode, she describes the hatred she felt for another Chinese girl who refused to speak and the physical bullying she meted out to get this silent girl to talk. Ironically, her hatred for the girl is all the more vivid because this silent girl is so much like her — physically, emotionally, and socially.

In other aspects of her family life, Kingston feels the need to maintain a veil of secrecy.In Kingston's myth of herself as a training warrior, she advocates the strength in silence and listening. Letting there be space and sound for others can then be seen as an ethical choice.

Identity. The Woman Warrior itself is a talk-story even though it is written instead of spoken. Stories are so important to the narrator because silence makes her furious. Some of the silence in the Chinese emigrant community is kept due to fear of deportation.

A summary of Themes in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Woman Warrior and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The theme of silence begins with the first words of Kingston's memoir: "You must not tell.

In Kingston's myth of herself as a training warrior, she advocates the strength in silence and listening.

The woman warrior silence theme

Letting there be space and sound for others can then be seen as an ethical choice. Identity. Language and communication is a big theme in The Woman Warrior. Kingston's stories are about the conflict between silence and the need to communicate ones thoughts and feelings to one's loved ones.

Cheuk 1 David Cheuk Lit Professor James 8 May Maxine Hong Kingston's. The Woman Warrior. Forming an Identity through Silence Written in , Maxine Hong Kingston's autobiography.

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