Maxine Hong Kingston 's No Name Woman

1271 WordsNov 1, 20166 Pages
Maxine Hong Kingston, a first-generation Chinese-American, searches for her identity by comparing her own American traditions with her parent’s old-China traditions. Although Kingston grew up in California, her family roots remain deep within her culture. She is an active feminist and the author of two well-known books, The Woman Warrior (1970) and China Men (1980). In No Name Woman, Kingston explores the treatment, values and life of the women of old-China in the 1920s. In “No Name Woman,” which is Chapter One of The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts, Kingston learns from her mother that she once had an aunt who killed both herself and her newborn baby by jumping into the family drinking well in China. Kingston relates that the woman’s husband had left the country years before to provide for the family in America, so the villagers knew the child was illegitimate. The night that the baby was born, the villagers raided and destroyed the family house; consequently, the woman gave birth in a pigsty. Kingston’s mother further explains that the next morning she found her sister-in-law and the baby had plugged up the well. The woman had brought such disgrace upon her family that they decided to pretend that she had never been born. Kingston’s mother tells the story as a cautionary tale to her daughter, in the years Kingston begins to menstruate. Her mother warns her to be careful lest the same fate fall upon her. Kingston, looking back on the story later,
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