“The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Kingston is a very interesting, perspective of a Chinese woman who had gone through many troubles as a woman growing up. Through this chapter “No Name Woman” Kingston lays out the influence of her mother as a story teller. The chapter opens up to a very drastic scene. “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’s as if she had never been born.” (3) Her Mother then goes on to explain how this atrocity happens. Her Mother claims to remember a protruding melon of a stomach on her. Which couldn’t have been possible since the man that she was going to spend the rest of the life with had left to go overseas. The village had been counting down the days to her birth as well. Her mother explains that they showed up and had raided their whole house destroying everything from food, clothes, pots, and even killing all their animals and smearing the blood all over the walls. We soon find out later that she is telling her this story because she is starting to menstruate. Her mother is trying to warn her not to humiliate her like her aunt had did her family. Kingston takes a very direct approach in showing all her readers what life was like for a Chinese woman and as an American Chinese Woman through multiple stories.
After hearing her mother’s Story’s as a Chinese woman, she then goes and tells her own story as how she sees it through an American Chinese woman. She figures that her aunt had, had a one-night marriage. She then states that some man had threated to kill her if she didn’t have sex with him. She felt like she had no choice since she gets her oil from him and collect firewood from the same forest. Kingston then reveals that she had told the man she might be pregnant and the man had organized the raid and town against her. Kingston believes that killing her baby along with herself was a noble decision. She knew the child would live a life no one would want her to live. A life of misery, pain, and the acceptance of no one. At the end of the chapter Kingston states that the raid or the death of the child and her wasn’t the worst part but the fact that all of her family chose to abandon her and forget about her completely. “The real punishment was not the raid swiftly inflicted by the villagers, but the family deliberately forgetting her.” (16)
I think there is a bigger picture to all of this. I think this chapter has everything to do with storytelling. The story could’ve easily gone where the Aunt had been shamed into suicide and that it is the aunts fault that her baby was born and that is was her fault she was born into a culture where men had all the power in the world and she had no choice who she could sleep with. Kingston had taken the story and perceived it to how she really thought it went. Kingston along with everyone else that hears a story has the ability to look through the story that was told and interpret is how you want to see it or what you think is right. I think her mother had told her that story because she didn’t want her daughter to make a fool of their family too and that she wanted to let her know that men still have the power create her future whether its good or bad.”Don’t humiliate us. You wouldn’t like to be forgotten as if you had never been born.” (5) This also means that if her daughter ever went to America like her aunt’s brothers, she too could create a new story and a new future for her family’s legacy.
Can you think of a piece of history that has been lost in time, or stories in a textbook, book, or even a story from internet where you read or heard that story and you envisioned it differently?
Do you think woman today still get horribly victimized by men as much as it did back then? Is this still a growing issue in America and other places around the world?