The Women's World

Essay by onvinhtanCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2005

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"Chinese-Americans, when you try to understand what things in you are Chinese, how do you separate what is peculiar to childhood, to poverty, insanities, one family, your mother who made your growing with stories, from what is Chinese? What is Chinese tradition and what are the movies?" (Kingston, 5) Nearly all of the first generation Chinese Americans suffered identity crisis resulting from their origin of a conservative cultural traditions and their new and permissive American environment. Such conflict is extremely evident during their childhood and young adulthood. In addition, young women experienced even more difficulties on the issue of identity crisis than men due to the complexity of the subservient role they played in traditional Chinese culture. In Maxine Hong Kingston's autobiography -- "The woman Warrior: Memories of a Girlhood among Ghosts", Kingston related both her own memoir and the stories from women connected to her in some ways.

She expressed her personal thoughts and feelings toward such issue and described her struggles in trying to free herself from this conflict as a Chinese American woman.

"No Name Woman," started with a talk-story about an aunt that Kingston never knew she had. Her aunt was said to have killed herself and her illegitimate child in China by jumping into the family well. Upon hearing this horrific story, which was told to Kingston as a warning, she was never allowed to mention her aunt again. Therefore, she decided to create a tale of her aunt in her memoir. She imagined various possible ways that her aunt could have in plucking her hair from the forehead to attract a suitor, comparing her aunt's actions of a subtle rebellion against the community to her own. Kingston also recreated her aunt's horrible experience of giving birth in a pigsty...