Theme Of Silence In The Woman Warrior English Literature Essay

Theme Of Silence In The Woman Warrior English Literature Essay

The subject of happening one s ain personal voice is the cardinal purpose of Kingston in her memoir The Woman Warrior. She makes assorted mentions to the physical and emotional battle of this purpose throughout the text by researching the silence of the adult females in her household and Chinese civilization. By adding her experience as a Chinese-American adult female she discovers her voice. Kingston uses autobiography to make individuality and hence interruptions out of the silence that has bound her culturally to detect a resonating voice of her ain ( Wong 58 ) . Kingston supplies a voice to many unvoiced adult females enabling them to detect their individualities as persons.

In The Woman Warrior, Kingston utilises her different voices to picture the narratives of her ascendants. Through these narratives told to her by her female parent and her aunt, she is able to show a portion of her which her ain experiences can non explicate as a Chinese-American female. Her memoir is an intensely autobiographical work, yet her first individual presence ranges from changeless to, at times, about non-existent.

Overall, throughout the five chapters of The Woman Warrior, there is a motion from the subject of silence in the first line of the first chapter You must non state anyone to a voice in the concluding line and the last chapter It translated good ( Hong Kingston 3, 209 ) . For Kingston, silence equates to a deficiency of voice, which she associates with the loss of individuality as a adult female, which is her chief purpose of the text. However, she is besides cognizant of the hazards involved in asseverating independency from her ain Chinese community.

This thought is explored in the first chapter of the memoir, No Name Woman, where Kingston s aunt acted against her community s criterions of suited behavior and the villagers punished her for moving as if she could hold a private life, secret and apart from them ( Hong Kingston 36-37 ) . However, Kingston fear that in remaining silent and non happening her ain voice, she risks going a replacement for her unidentified aunt, who remained soundless her full life. Kingston s anxiousness is increased by her female parent s warning: Don t state anyone you had an aunt ( Hong Kingston 18 ) . But in composing the No Name Woman narrative, Kingston reacts against the household imposed silence and tells everyone of her aunt. Her aunt s silence, by declining to call the male parent of her kid, protects the adult male and at the same time oppresses her. Kingston gives a voice to the silence adult female by composing the aunt s narrative and speculating how her aunt became pregnant. In making this, she removes her aunt s guilt and solidifies her individuality as a Chinese-American adult female. She feels that to stay soundless about her aunt would be the same as rejecting her ain sense of ego.

The subject of silence in the text is besides linked to the cross-cultural jobs that Kingston comes across throughout her ain life. Kingston notes that The Chinese I know conceal their names ; sojourners take new names when their lives alteration and guard their existent names with silence ( Hong Kingston 6 ) . The reference of silence non merely refers to the concealment of names but besides to the confusion of Chinese civilization to first-generation Chinese-Americans.

Although the adult females of traditional Chinese civilization do non hold voices, the narratives and myths that female household members pass onto their girls may incorporate insurgent messages. For illustration, in the chapter entitled White Tigers, the fable of the Chinese adult female warrior Fa Mu Lan is a changeless reminder to immature Kingston that adult females can exceed socially implemented restrictions. Kingston discusses how as a kid, she imagined herself to be like Fa Mu Lan, who saves non merely her household but her community: the villagers would do a fable about my perfect filiality ( Hong Kingston 45 ) . It is in this chapter that we see how, even as a kid, Kingston dreamt of exceeding a life of insignificance. Brave Orchid s narrative of the adult female warrior proves how narratives and fables of tradition Chinese civilization can make alternate, insurgent voices for adult females who otherwise would pass their life in silence due to the laterality of a patriarchal society.

Kingston extends her authorization of adult females, by supplying them with individualized voices, to her ain female parent. Brave Orchid, her female parent, is efficaciously unvoiced in America as although she has lived in America for many old ages, she does non talk English. As with all the lives of the adult females in The Woman Warrior, Kingston vocalises and records her female parent experiences. The memoir shows Brave Orchid s forfeits and distinguishes her from the unidentified Chinese adult females populating in America.

In the chapter At the Western Palace, Kingston s aunt Moon Orchid, reveals how dearly-won staying silence can be. Moon Orchid relays the narrative of a adult female, deserted by her hubby, who has wholly submitted to the patriarchal position that adult female should ever stay soundless and ne’er inquiry male authorization. The aphonia of s Chinese adult female populating in a traditionally patriarchal society is shown when the adult female reluctantly confronts her Americanised hubby and is unable to voice her old ages of fury and heartache: But all she did was unfastened and shut her oral cavity without any words coming out ( Hong Kingston 152 ) . Ironically, her loss of address is the make up one’s minding factor in her hubby s determination that she has no topographic point in his American life, saying, I have of import American invitees who come inside my house to eat You can t talk to them. You can hardly speak to me ( Hong Kinston 153 ) . However, by Kingston composing Moon Orchid s narrative in her memoir, she is besides supplying Moon Orchid with an single voice.

In the concluding chapter of The Woman Warrior, A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe, Kingston deals with the generational and cultural struggles as respects the voice of Chinese-American adult females. Through her American instruction, Kingston imagines that Americans hear the linguistic communication of Chinese as chingchong ugly ( Hong Kingston 199 ) . In order for a immature Kingston to experience even partly accepted by her American equals, she retracts her voice: We American-Chinese misss had to whisper to do ourselves American-feminine ( Hong Kinston 172 ) .

However, even as a kid, Kingston is cognizant of the effects of being without a voice. She describes the hatred she felt for another Chinese miss who refused to talk and how she physically bullied the miss to do her talk. Her hate for the unspeaking miss is highlighted be her similarity to the miss. The immature Kingston fears going like this soundless miss, who functions as Kingston s alter self-importance.

In this last chapter, Kingston at the same time inquiries the imposts of the Chinese and the indirect manner in which the Chinese speak through detecting their codification of silence towards Americans sing their cultural beginnings and history. This deficiency of a voice further marginalises Kingston and other first-generation Chinese-Americans as during Kingston s find of her voice ; she resists seting herself in a province of entry but does, nevertheless, intentionally present herself ill to her equals.

In Kingston s concluding expression at her yesteryear, she tells the narrative of the poet Ts ai Yen to stand for the possibilities of two civilizations coming together harmoniously. Kingston identifies with Ts ai Yen s strength in look and sees them both as adult females warriors symbolically contending to associate the cultural spread between America and China.

In decision, Kingston s different voices culminate to represent the voice of her ain subjectiveness, to emerge from a past dominated by narratives told to her into a present articulated by her ain storytelling ( Wong 59 ) . The authorship of The Woman Warrior, an mercantile establishment for her to research her yesteryear, becomes Kingston s redress for silence her manner of detecting her ain personal voice and a topographic point as a Chinese-American adult female in society.