Western Civilization is the Bane of Society in Maxine Hong Kingston's "Woman Warrior"

Essay by omniromHigh School, 12th gradeA+, September 2006

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 21 times

Throughout chapter four of Maxine Kingston's intriguing book, "The Woman Warrior", western civilization is shown to be the bane of society. It is as if the book is a satire of the American lifestyle and culture. Despite the title, "At the Western Palace," which makes America seem grand and beautiful, every other description of America seems to be negative. For instance, the "American children could not sit for very long. They did not understand sitting (113)." "Immigrants nowadays were bandits, beating up store owners and stealing from them rather than working (127)." Although these are immigrants from China, once in America, for whatever reason, they become ruthless vagabonds who rape and pillage. Furthermore, when Moon Orchid's husband states, "You can't belong. You don't have the hardness for this country (153)," he is further exemplifying the notion of a tough American lifestyle.

Although this notion of "The Woman Warrior" being a satire of America seems to hold true, there are several oddities which lead us to believe that it is also a satire of China.

For instance, when moon Orchid's husband states, "That's not true. Obviously the villagers haven't stoned her (153)," and "I wouldn't with that [returning to china] on anyone. She may stay (153)," Kingston is portraying a dismal picture of a country where widows are stoned to death and communism is worse than a poverty-stricken life in America. If neither place is suited for Brave Orchid and Moon Orchid, then where is their home? If neither belongs and fits into anywhere in society, then Brave Orchid and Moon Orchid have becomes ghosts. "Her husband looked like one of the ghosts passing the car windows, and she must look like a ghost from China. They had indeed entered the land of ghosts, and they had become ghosts (153)." It...