December 2nd, 2010

The Woman Warrior-“The swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar.”

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

I’m not one to delve too deep into feminist typed literature, but I’ve got to make an exception for Kingston.  The way she presents her point within the two different stories we’ve read so far is very appealing.  I would have to say based on the first two sections that Kingston has every right to claim herself to be a woman warrior.

The first section starts out with her mother telling the story of her aunt, the alienated ghost who does not exist in the families eyes.  She is one who is deemed adulterous when she becomes pregnant while her husband is away with the other men of the family.  She and her family are terrorized by the villagers because now there is another mouth to feed in all the chaos there is going on around them.  This story is used as a weapon by Kingston’s mother in an attempt to get her to keep her legs closed after puberty hits so that every time she even thinks about looking at a boy, she will remember the disgrace her aunt endured.

Kingston remarks on and makes many references to the view women in China.  She talks a lot about how the obedient Chinese woman would act and how her aunt differs from them.  I think that Kingston’s aunt was also persecuted for this as well as having an illegitimate child in a time of famine.

Kingston remarks on how -even though she believes she means her well- her aunt haunts her because she alone devotes pages to her despite her alienated ghost like state.  This opening to the novel is used as a tool to introduce us to Kingston’s main point.  Her aunt was a woman who went against the limitations of her own culture and was punished because of it.  In fact, she was so alienated; she killed herself and her baby.  She got her revenge against them by plugging up the village source of water and drowning herself in it. 

I feel like the second section really kicks the main point into action.  She talks about how women, Chinese women, can grown up to be heroines and swords woman instead of wives and slaves.  They can do great things.

She goes on to tell the story of how she would have liked to become a warrior woman, all the tests she would have endured, and how she would be honored.  I like the story she tells because it reminds me so much of Fa Mu Lan who went against the rules of her culture to take her father’s place in battle because she feared he would not come back and ended up coming back victorious.

It seems as though the story in this section is almost like a dream.  Right after it ends, there is a break in the page and then we are brought back into Kingston’s world and her stories about how she was put down because she was a woman.  She goes straight into stories about how she would throw tempter tantrums when anyone would say things to her about girls being useless, about how she would make herself be like a boy to get respect and stop getting straight A’s because they were not profitable. 

She makes a point that even though she has not had the same training as the swordswoman that they are not so dissimilar.  She says that what they have in common are the words on their backs.  I think that like the swordswoman with her sword, Kingston’s weapons are her words and it is her words that she will use to fight the battle for revenge.  It is her words that she will use to gain what she thinks is right no matter whom she is fighting against.

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5 Responses to ' The Woman Warrior-“The swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar.” '

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  1.    beverly gross said,

    on December 2nd, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    great job.

  2.    blog post said,

    on April 11th, 2016 at 4:52 pm

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  5.    Donna Prizio said,

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