Essay about Culture Shapes The Identity Of An Individual

Essay about Culture Shapes The Identity Of An Individual

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Culture shapes the identity of an individual. Maxine Hong Kingston, growing a Chinese American, wavering between the Chinese customs and traditions that shape her identity and her liberal American culture. In her essay, “No Name Woman,” she learns from her mother about her aunt who killed herself by jumping into the family well. Another man impregnated Kingston’s aunt since her husband lived away. Women in the Chinese society were looked at as fragile and submissive, devoid of their emotions and thoughts. The men were the leaders of the house and the society. Having female children was shameful if a male child has not been born already. Women’s duties were to bear children and take care of the household. The aunt, being part of such a conservative society committed such a valiant act, which is greatly admired by Kingston.
The first sentence of the essay, “You must not tell anyone”, hints the secretive manner of the Chinese society (255). Chinese people tend to maintain close communication inside and analyze their thoughts before speaking because of fear of negative response. They tend to maintain an inner circle and avoid sharing information with a big group of people. Kingston’s mother shows this characteristic since she tells her daughter not to talk about the story to anybody else. Family is the most important unit in the Chinese society. Every action of the family members affects the whole family as a group. Kingston tries to expose her aunt’s history, something her family would try to keep concealed from the rest of the society. This shows that she has been influenced more by her American surroundings than her Chinese roots.
The villagers act as a source of stress for the family. They suspected that Kingston’s aunt was pr...

... middle of paper ...

...uenced by American culture more than her Chinese roots is that she is writing about her aunt’s story which she was maintain a secret like the rest of her family.
Kingston is influenced by her American surroundings more than her Chinese roots because her mindset is very similar to an American. She separates herself from the stereotypical beliefs of the Chinese community. She believes that her family is still caught up with the Chinese beliefs and traditions. She questions her traditions because they do not make sense to her. Her American mentality does not support what the Chinese society believes and she supports her aunt, admiring her for her bravery. Kingston and her aunt both share a progressive mentality, which makes Kingston so intrigued about her. To conclude, by telling the secret about her aunt, she does not stand by the important Chinese value of secrecy.

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