Professor Richard Potter
16 November 2016
The Woman Warrior
Language is a system of communication used by humans either written or spoken to communicate our thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts and feelings we want to communicate to our loved ones, to our friends, to people we work with or go to school with and even to strangers. Maxine Hong Kingston in her memoir The Woman Warrior explores language and the use of language to express what Kingston finds as several conflicts. The conflict of the immigrant experience and the conflict of having to be a Chinese- American woman along with the expectation of being “silent”. Maxine Hong Kingston provides a remarkable memoir that blends Chinese folktales and personal narratives.
Much throughout her memoir Kingston, tells narratives of “talk- stories”, which are stories blended of her family stories and cultural myths that she has heard. For example the story of Kingston’s un-named, “no named” aunt. The only knowledge Kingston has of her aunt are the hushed stories her mother tells, the rest Kingston spins with what she may have thought is what had happened. In this sense Kingston’ is an unreliable narrator, leaving readers to question which parts of what Kingston is saying is actually true and which parts are pieces of her imagination. Kingston 's unreliableness as a narrator could also be symbolic of stories told in history. Many times we hear stories of events that may have happened, but we
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Contrary to unification, language can divide people. Finally, In “The Power of Words in Wartime”, Robin Lakoff shows how specific language makes it easier to kill the enemy while at war. Language is a beautiful gift that can bring people together just because they speak the same language. In, “Mute in an English Only World”, Chang-Rae Lee writes about his mother who is a Korean-American immigrant and, how she was not capable of doing everyday tasks because of her lack of knowledge of English.
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston presents the story of a girl trapped between the cultures of her surrounding environment and that which her mother and family have forced upon her. Knowing only the Chinese way of life, this girl’s mother attempts to familiarize her daughter, whom is also the narrator, with the history of their family. The mother shares this heritage through the use of stories in hopes the narrator will be prepared for her ultimate return to China, which is a life completely foreign to her own. Through these stories and the strong influence of the surrounding American culture, the narrator’s life and imagination spin off in a new direction. She is confronted by
Amy Tan’s ,“Mother Tongue” and Maxine Kingston’s essay, “No Name Woman” represent a balance in cultures when obtaining an identity in American culture. As first generation Chinese-Americans both Tan and Kingston faced many obstacles. Obstacles in language and appearance while balancing two cultures. Overcoming these obstacles that were faced and preserving heritage both women gained an identity as a successful American.
The author argues the “combat masculine-warrior paradigm is the essence of military culture. This paradigm persists today even with the presence of “others” (e.g. women and gays) who do not fit the stereotypical image of combatant or masculine warrior.” In a 5-paragraph essay, discuss how the presence of women or gays will cause the military culture to change.
Chang-Rae Lee’s Native Speaker expresses prominent themes of language and racial identity. Chang-Rae Lee focuses on the struggles that Asian Americans have to face and endure in American society. He illustrates and shows readers throughout the novel of what it really means to be native of America; that true nativity of a person does not simply entail the fact that they are from a certain place, but rather, the fluency of a language verifies one’s defense of where they are native. What is meant by possessing nativity of America would be one’s citizenship and legality of the country. Native Speaker suggests that if one looks different or has the slightest indication that one should have an accent, they will be viewed not as a native of
Throughout the novel The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston, the past is incorporated into the present through talk-stories combined into each chapter. Kingston uses talk-stories, to examine the intermingling of Chinese myths and lived experiences. These stories influence the life of the narrator as the past is constantly spoken about from the time she is young until the novel ends and she becomes an adult. Kingston incorporates two cultures. She is not a direct recipient of Chinese culture, but she has her own sense of talk-story, that she learns from her mother, which tells the old Chinese stories with a sense of myth, in a new American way. This is a way of weaving two cultures together, bringing the Chinese past into her present American life.
The theme of “voiceless woman” throughout the book “the woman warrior” is of great importance. Maxine Kingston narrates several stories in which gives clear examples on how woman in her family are diminished and silenced by Chinese culture. The author not only provides a voice for herself but also for other women in her family and in her community that did not had the opportunity to speak out and tell their stories.
Language plays an important role in communication by bringing people together and enriching their relationships. Language can also alienate those who do not speak it properly, or at all, from those who do. The essays, Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan, best known for her book, The Joy Luck Club, and Se Habla Espanol, by Tanya Barrientos, delve into the many powers that language holds. These essays reflect how by not speaking a language in proper form and by not speaking a language at all, affects the lives of the subjects of the stories.
Maxine Hong Kingston's autobiography, The Woman Warrior, features a young Chinese-American constantly searching for "an unusual bird" that would serve as her impeccable guide on her quest for individuality (49). Instead of the flawless guide she seeks, Kingston develops under the influence of other teachers who either seem more fallible or less realistic. Dependent upon their guidance, she grows under the influence of American and Chinese schools and the role models of Brave Orchid, Fa Mu Lan, and Moon Orchid. Her education by these counselors consequently causes her to abandon her search for an escort, the bird to be found somewhere in the measureless sky,
In The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston crafts a fictitious memoir of her girlhood among ghosts. The book’s classification as a memoir incited significant debate, and the authenticity of her representation of Chinese American culture was contested by Asian American scholars and authors. The Woman Warrior is ingenuitive in its manipulation of the autobiographical genre. Kingston integrates the value of storytelling in her memoir and relates it to dominant themes about silence, cultural authenticity, and the cultivation of identity. Throughout her work, Kingston reaches a variety of conclusions about the stories her mother told her by writing interpretations of her mother, Brave Orchid’s, “talk-story”. Brave Orchid’s talk-story is a form
Women have played a tremendous role in many countries' armed forces from the past to the present. Women have thoroughly integrated into the armed forces; all positions in the armed forces should be fully accessible to women who can compete with men intellectually and physically.
Maxine Hong Kingston’s novel The Woman Warrior is a series of narrations, vividly recalling stories she has heard throughout her life. These stories clearly depict the oppression of woman in Chinese society. Even though women in Chinese Society traditionally might be considered subservient to men, Kingston viewed them in a different light. She sees women as being equivalent to men, both strong and courageous.
When it comes to combat assignments and the needs of the military, men take precedence over all other considerations, including career prospects of female service members. Female military members have been encouraged to pursue opportunities and career enhancement within the armed forces, which limit them only to the needs and good of the service due to women being not as “similarly situated” as their male counterparts when it comes to strength or aggressiveness, and are not able to handle combat situations.
In the personal essay “My Mothers Tongue” (1990), Amy Tan, widely known author explains her insights on language and culture identity using details and memories from her own life experiences. Tan conceals that the language in which her mother used with her “was the language that helped shape the way [she] saw things, expressed things, made sense of the world” (1208) and in the process it made her who she is today as an author. Tan illuminates the euro centricity of the Master Narrative by retelling stories of her mother being treated poorly because of her “broken” or “limited” English. She recalls many past experiences where her mother suffered from bad service and treatment from restaurants, stockbrokers, and even hospitals. Using examples from her personal life Tan gets her point across about language and culture characteristics in order to show how Chinese culture is affected by the master narrative and also encourages others to include a variety of cultures in order to overcome bias opinions. Tan’s apparent audience can be ranged from the child of an immigrant to a doctor and offers an authentic and rich portrayal of Chinese history through her conflicting experience of her Chinese and American cultures.
It is worthwhile to reflect on the social and political advancements of women during the past one hundred years. Women now have the right to vote and to own property. They let their voices be heard instead of sitting silently in the kitchen. Women hold jobs previously restricted to men - police officer, firefighter, construction worker, doctor, truck driver and scientist. Obviously, this list is not all inclusive. Unfortunately, there is still one area that remains restricted to women. Women have assisted the military forces as far back as the Revolutionary War and yet there remains positions that women are excluded from. Female military personnel, having proven their ability to handle combat situations and having