Power of Mother Nature in Maxine Hong Kingston's "Woman Warrior"

Essay by omniromHigh School, 12th gradeA+, July 2006

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Throughout chapter two of Maxine Kingston's acclaimed book, "The Woman Warrior", she illustrates the bane of society and the inherent power of nature. The corruption of society can be seen when Maxine states "At night, the mice and toads look at me...not once would I see a three-legged toad, though; you need strings of cash to bait them (23)." This quotation describes how money can destroy nature and create a monstrosity out of it, such as thee-legged toads. However, in the mountains where Maxine now resides, the corruption of civilization has not yet befallen this wonderland. Additionally, the corruption of society can be seen through the racism of Maxine's boss. "Bright, isn't it? Nigger yellow (48)." Ironically, however, "niggers" don't have yellow skin, Chinese people do. Thus, the boss was making a direct racial slur against his very own employee as well as African-Americans, thus showing society's corruption.

Furthermore, he supports a restaurant that the CORE and NAACP, two of the largest human-rights organizations, are boycotting. The final instance of corruption within society can be seen by the baron's own sons not having to be conscripted into the army while Maxine's old and helpless father must go and fight. The baron and other government officials, symbols of power in society, "took my harvest so that my children had to eat grass (44)." Ultimately, society is constantly being negatively portrayed as a corrupt institution that harms the tranquility of nature.

Maxine Kingston constantly reminds us of the power of nature over our corrupt civilization and how we must not be so haughty and arrogant in our existence. Even the mighty warrior Fa Mu Lan was defeated by a lowly white crane who "snapped her pole in two (19)." Furthermore, nature, in mythical stories and real life, has the...