Conformity In Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior

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Conformity in Chinese and American Society Woman Warrior, written by Maxine Hong Kingston, focuses on the topic of conformity. Throughout the novel, Kingston is forced to conform to both Chinese traditions and American society. Her mother, Brave Orchid, pressures Kingston to conform to Chinese tradition, which is believed to keep her safe and make her a strong Chinese woman. However, Kingston, who is growing up in American society, is confronted with the new American beliefs, offering more freedom, but go against her Chinese roots. Through the novel, Kingston must go against Chinese stereotypes and expectations in order to become her own individual. Part of the Chinese tradition is the Four Virtues women are expected to follow. Stated in …show more content…
Kingston experiences gender discrimination at home, especially from her mother and father, who always favor the boys and not the girls. Kingston’s father is said to be so discriminatory that he “refused to eat pastries because he didn 't want to eat the dirt the women kneaded from between their fingers”(Kingston, 98). Chinese believed that woman were dirty, and second to men. The image of men juxtaposes the image of women. Men are thought of as “gifts from God”, while women are thought of as “maggots in the rice” (Kingston, 69-70). Donna Woodford, author of a critical essay on Woman Warrior, states that Kingston must fight against the “gendered silencing of woman in Chinese society,” even when she escapes Chinese life for American life (Woodford, 1). Kingston understands that the boys are treated differently than the girls, since when she was younger, she remembers the boys getting toys and candy for their birthdays, while her parents only criticized her. Kingston decides to go against her parents who want her to conform to the traditional gender roles by writing a novel, and becoming a world renounced writer. Woman in Chinese society were not expected to be successful in anything but birthing children (preferably boys), so Kingston’s accomplishment of becoming a writer gives her individuality any other Chinese woman during this time period would not

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