Woman Warrior

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

download word file, 8 pages 5.0

The Art of Combining Cultures The story Woman Warrior tells of the blending and development of two different cultures into one. This story is Maxine Hong Kingston's memoir, written in 1975. The story tells of the hardships and difficulties that immigrants experience when they move to a new country. Woman Warrior portrays the life of Maxine Hong Kingston, a second-generation Chinese-American girl. She realizes that she must intertwine Chinese language, culture, and family traditions with American standards. Kingston struggles most of her life trying to balance a Chinese life at home while going to an American school. She deals with being a soft-spoken woman trying to fight racism and oppression. She is striving to combine the two cultures without abandoning all the traditions. Kingston goes back and forth from the past to the present to show the importance of her past heritage being combined with her present life.

In the Chinese culture, women are viewed as inferior. Kingston is reminded time after time that, as a girl, she will "grow up a wife and a slave." She often tries to prove her worth by doing something great, like making good grades in school. Kingston learns most of her Chinese lessons through talk-stories told by her mother and other members of the family. She can identify with most of the talk-stories that she hears. She is warned in the beginning of the stories to keep quiet about them. The stories are told in a fashion that once it is finished, there are no questions asking for more information. This is important, because as she is trying to establish some ties between the two cultures, she must truly understand the reason for the story. Most of the stories tell of one lesson and give no reason for most of the...