Essay on Kingston's Ideal Life

Essay on Kingston's Ideal Life

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In the chapter "White Tigers" from her book The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston first fantasizes of a Chinese woman warrior before switching back to the reality of her American life as a woman. Using her imagination, Kingston dreams of a strong female avenger who manages to satisfy often opposing roles, such as warrior and mother and who receives honor and respect from her family. Yet in her true life, Kingston faces a much different world in which she struggles to fight for her beliefs and encounters disapproval from her parents. Employing her fantasy which starkly contrasts her real life, Kingston provides an alternate, more liberated view of a woman's role and abilities which reflects her own aspirations and wishes for an ideal life.

The woman warrior in the first section of "White Tigers" appears as a perfect woman who manages to balance her life, acting in a multitude of roles including a fighter and a mother. Kingston's version of the legendary Fa Mu Lan valiantly leads and "inspired my army, and I fed them...Then people would want to join the ranks. My army did not rape, only taking food where there was an abundance. We brought order wherever we went" (17). The reader admires this warrior who has the power to "inspire" the men in her army, despite the fact that she is a female. She acts with great integrity as she refuses to allow her army to commit such atrocities as rape and also proceeds conscientiously as she never takes food from the hungry, only accepting such nourishment from an "abundance." Furthermore, she clearly has magnetic power as a leader as she finds others who "want" to become a soldier in her army. Because she has the power to install order "wherever" she and her army go, the w...


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...racter who has great skill and ability and who attains respect and honor, in reality, she acts hesitantly and comes to the realization that all her skill and ability renders itself as completely useless as she has no value to her parents as a woman. In concluding "White Tigers," Kingston claims, "The swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar. May my people understand the resemblance soon so that I can return to them" (53). Kingston essentially asserts that the woman warrior and she carry the same heart, the same values, the same aspirations. However, the swordswoman has the ability to carry out these dreams whereas Kingston's only achieves such aspirations in her fantasy of the warrior. She hopes, though, that someday soon her "people" will realize the value of woman so that she too can become a female avenger, strong and admirable, standing up for her beliefs.

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