Women Empowerment Depicted in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Autobiography The Woman Warrior

Women Empowerment Depicted in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Autobiography The Woman Warrior

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As newer generations take on the responsibility of passing down their people’s history and culture, ancestral costumes are maintained but altered to suit current social standards. Through Maxine Hong Kingston’s autobiography The Woman Warrior, a memoir of myths and her mother’s narratives, the author is given a sense of empowerment as she discovers her own identity and, thus, her place in the world. Growing up, Kingston struggled with her dual heritage, not knowing whether to follow her family’s Chinese customs or live up to American society’s cultural and social norms. As a Chinese American, Kingston adapted the principles of these two distinct cultures to suit her own lifestyle, this led to her dual oppression by both American and Chinese culture and society; her mother often disregarded her opinions because she considered her to be “half a ghost”; a Chinese American. Although the autobiography does not reveal much of Kingston’s personal struggles, the narratives within it do reflect and follow her discovery of her personal identity. Her mothers’ parenting skills of complying to and contradicting stereotypes of oriental women, permitted her to visualize the potential to attain a better life and to be the exception of the ongoing stereotype of the submissive oriental woman. By rebelling against certain aspects her Chinese heritage, Kingston set high standards for herself and other Chinese American women and this serves as an inspiration for other oppressed oriental women.
Uncertain about her identity, Kingston relied on her mother’s narratives to aid her in the process of finding her independence and discovering who she was. Although Brave Orchid frequently enforced Chinese customs amongst her daughters, she often contradi...


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... her heritage and the struggles of being a first generation Chinese American, she projects a message of self empowerment among women whom suffer from oppression or come from a culture of oppression. She acknowledges her determination of wanting to be successful by not complying with the role of the submissive oriental woman. Although she does not submit to the norm of female oppression, Kingston continues to follow other Chinese customs and constantly reminds herself about the past oppression of women and how she is not willing to continue the ongoing cycle. Caught between two distinct social standards, Kingston suffered from identity confusion. As Kingston’s autobiography reveals a message of self empowerment and women oppression, her autobiography continues to lives among the beholder; leaving the reader with a final thought: women will overcome male dominance.

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