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Maxine Hong Kingston

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Kingston's mother cut the fermium of her tongue so that, "[her] tongue would be able to move in any language." When you first read this, what was your first impression?

In the “Woman Warrior” Maxine Hong Kingston takes readers through the life of ordinary Chinese woman living in the US. Kingston’s family migrated to America while she was a little girl and she through the transition. After reading the story, the first impression that came to my mind, is the place of women and other marginalized societies in a multicultural society. Firstly, the story portrays discrimination for non-English speaking communities particularly those of Asian origin. The story also highlights an aspect of gender-based discrimination since only women had their “tongues tied.”  

Do believe this part of the story is fiction or nonfiction and why?

Although there is profound controversy surrounding the original work, the genre can be classified as non-fiction. This is because the story illustrates some of the 20 th century encounters of Chinese communities living in the US. Indeed, the story confirms political events that followed the Chinese revolution. Moreover, the anthology blends autobiographies and ancient Chinese folk tales into a classic story.

Kingston alludes to Kingston claims in the essay that her "silence became a misery." Explain this concept and connect it with the idea of one's voice being closely tied to their identity.

“It was when I found out I had to talk that school became misery, that the silence became misery” (p.166). The phrase illustrates how Kingston struggled to raise her voice both at school and at home. The claim that “silence became a misery” illustrates the difficulties that she experienced while trying to overcome cultural barriers. Ideally language determines one’s culture and, hence the idea of one’s voice being closely tied with their identity. The difference between English and Chinese speaking Americans was rooted in their language differences. While at school, she realized that other Chinese girls could not talk either, and she figured out that the silence did not result from “cut tongues” but from being Chinese.

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