These literary, family, and historical documents and texts have helped shape Kingston’s identity while growing up. She incorporates them in her own memoir but modifies the plot or moral of the story such that, when the stories are seen as a whole, they represent her full identity as a female Chinese-American (Smith 151).
In the first chapter titled “No Name Woman”, Kingston’s mother (Brave Orchid) uses talk-story —a traditional way of orally communicating narratives to others in order to preserve morals of the (often tainted) story—to teach a lesson to her daughter about paying respect to her family. This particular talk-story is about how Kingston’s aunt disgraced her family by becoming pregnant with an illegitimate child and then after giving birth, her aunt jumped into the village’s well, killing both herself and her baby (1-15). By passing on this cautionary lesson just as Kingston is approaching puberty, Brave Orchid hopes that she has successfully warned her daughter about the consequences of illegitimate pregnancy and disrespecting her family such that Kingston would take this story into account while becoming her feminine self. Although the “No Name Woman” talk-story represents her family’s and the Chinese community’s views on filial piety (Wong 42), by incorporating her own commentary (Kingston tries to justify reasons as to how her aunt became pregnant and why she committed suicide), she represents her own views on filial piety and thus begins to shape her own type of “Chinese-feminine” identity