"Woman Warrior" - Analysis of the "No Name Woman"

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

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" 'You must not tell anyone,' my mother said, 'what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born.' (3)"

Right from the beginning of "The Woman Warrior", Maxine Kingston grasps the reader's attention and places them in the climax of the chapter, leaving character development and other devices for later explanation. The entire chapter revolves around this "no name woman" who intriguingly opens the doors for several recurring themes in this section. Ultimately Kingston's first chapter is devoted to the struggle between fitting in with the social commonplace and developing one's own individual character.

The novel's setting in rural China holds great importance to the development of this dominating theme. In China's communist government, everyone is idealistically supposed to be equal.

Everyone should have the same income, social status, civil rights, etc. Thus, no one should try to stick out and be an individual, for doing so would be a direct assault upon the social order of this communist way of life. This very notion is the reason why Maxine's aunt, the "no name woman," is brutally attacked. By having a child out of wedlock, the "no name woman" is becoming an individual and is disrupting the communist social order. Because she and the child will not be able to provide anything to the commonwealth, such as food or clothing, they are essentially being parasites off of everyone else who works hard to sustain their way of life. Everyone is supposed to contribute to the well being of everyone else through the shared accumulation of food and other necessities, but by having a fatherless child, the "no name...