Woman Warrior Essay

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A Warrior’s Triumph
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
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These expectations increased when she was in the presence of “great power, [her] mother talking story” (20). In one particular situation, the narrator recalls her mother singing about Fa Mu Lan, the woman warrior. Although her mother expected her daughter to become a wife or a slave, the narrator had a different idea; she would “grow up a woman warrior” (20). As a young girl, she said that she “couldn’t tell where the stories left off and the dreams began” (19). This is the case in “White Tigers.” The narrator’s dream-state takes readers into the mind of a girl who attempts to please her mother and entire family by becoming a woman warrior. This is possibly an attempt to subside much of the harsh ridicule she receives from her mother due to cultural differences. Although this is a key factor in her early childhood, she learns to block out these criticisms as she grows older.
There is significant evidence of this growing maturity in “Shaman.” In the beginning of the chapter, the reader can find an increased pressure placed on the narrator while hearing about her mother’s bravery and intelligence at medical school. This story added on to those her mother told about World War II fighter planes, which terrified the narrator for many years. Also, as a young girl, her mother would refer to America as being "full of machines and

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