Maxine Kingston's No Name Woman

1084 Words5 Pages
Learn from the Stories Having two considerably different cultures can cause a strife with one’s identity. In “No Name Woman,” Maxine Kingston’s mother tells her a story of her aunt that committed adultery which therefore led to her segregation from her own family and villagers. Kingston’s mother asserts that the story should not be told by anyone and the story’s purpose was to strike fear in her daughter. Then, Kingston explores the different scenarios that could have led to her aunt’s suppressed suicide. Through the use of characterization of her aunt’s desolation, animated imagery and diction, Kingston demonstrates the difficulty of finding an identity when different cultures conflict with each other. Kingston attempting to relate to her Chinese or American culture becomes an arduous task as she explores her aunt’s characteristics of remoteness. In “No Name Woman,” Kingston claims, “...[Her] aunt used a secret voice, a separate attentiveness”(453). Her claim reflects this characterization of her aunt’s solitude because she was very private about the man who got her pregnant. Kingston’s characterization of her aunt creates a predicament in identifying with her cultures because she explains how Chinese people were very vocal and loud, but her aunt’s quietness does not reflect that same loudness of the Chinese people. Kingston also describes her aunt as “...one of the stars, a bright dot in blackness, without home, without a companion, in eternal cold and silence”(455). Stars in the sky are typically perceived as something outstanding or bright, but Kingston meant that her aunt was as isolated as a star in the galaxy. Although the aunt was well-known among the villagers, she was acknowledged for the wrong reasons and was shamed b... ... middle of paper ... ...xile from their family. A causeless, pietistic martyrdom that extinguished the lives of two souls. There is a whiff of shame towards her family, their close-minded thoughtlessness in handling a delicate situation. This dawns’ reasoning to the fantastical, fictional accounts of her aunt’s demise. Kingston’s embellishment of an unknown half-truth gives reasoning to the underlined symbolism of her story. Raised by traditionalists, despite the advancing times, will still not speak of the true occurrences of the aunt who was “never born.” According to Kingston, to this day, she remains unaware regarding the details of her aunt, only sentiment and speculation. Works Cited Kingston, Maxine Hong. "No Name Women." Donald McQuade, and Robert Atwan. The Writer's Presence: A Pool of Readings. 7th edition. Bedford/St. Martins: Boston and New York, 2012. 458-470. Print
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