Breaking Silence In Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior

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Maxine Hong Kingston shows that one can form an identity by breaking silence in The Woman Warrior; Kingston develops this theme through different talk-stories stories her mother tells her.
Throughout The Woman Warrior, Kingston gradually finds her own identity by examining heavily weighted talk-stories. Through these stories told to her by her mother and her aunt, she is able to express a part of her which her own experiences cannot explain as a Chinese-American female. Convinced by her mother’s stories, Kingston grew up believing, “we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves” (Kingston 18). As Kingston matures, she recognizes a pattern of silenced women who have lived under male doctrines. After witnessing their silences and how it has continued to deprive these women of living complete lives, Kingston goes against her mother’s stories and creates her own identity by validating the need to voice one’s own opinions freely.
Despite the fact that women of traditional Chinese
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Moon Orchid relays the tale of a woman, betrayed by her husband, who has completely submitted to the patriarchal view that women should always remain silent and never question male authority. The voicelessness of a Chinese woman living in a traditional patriarchal society is shown when the woman reluctantly confronts her Americanized husband and is unable to voice her years of rage and misery: “But all she did was open and shut her mouth without any words coming out” (Kingston 152). Ironically, her loss of speech is the central factor in her husband’s decision that she has no place in his American life, stating, “I have important American guests who come inside my house to eat… you can’t talk to them. You can barely talk to me” (Kinston 153). On the other hand, by Kingston writing Moon Orchid’s story in her memoir, she is likewise giving Moon Orchid an individual

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