She gives in to her personal desires only to be shunned by her society because of her illegitimate child. She kills herself and her newborn baby after giving birth in a pigsty. The story of “No-Name Woman” shows how old Chinese societies were. Indiscretions by women were horrible transgressions that caused people’s lives. The shameful act of a woman was unforgivable as proven by how Kingston’s mother shares the family decided that the aunt never existed. Similarly, in the history of America, women who acted in lust and bore children out of wedlock were looked down on in their villages. Unlike the Chinese though, these American women in ancient times did not take their own lives or their baby’s lives out of shame.
Another female that figured in Kingston’s life was another aunt, Moon Orchid. She is the sister of Kingston’s mother. Like “No Man Woman” her life ended sadly. Left by her husband, Moon Orchid was convinced by Kingston’s mother to follow the husband, who has a new family in America, and claim her place as the rightful wife. Moon Orchid was rejected. Unable to learn the English language, Moon Orchid became crazy and eventually died in a mental asylum. In Chinese culture, it is not uncommon to have a second wife, a trophy wife. The husband must provide for both wives. In America, this is not part of the culture at all which is why divorce is such a big deal. Another difference in culture is how Moon Orchid failed to adapt when in America. In contrast, American women manage in one way or another to adjust to the current situation and survive.
Yet another woman mentioned in the book is Fa Mu Lan. A mythical character, Fa Mu Lan is a courageous woman who pretends to be a man, saves her husband, leads an army into overthrowing a bad emperor and kills a horrible baron. In this story, the author depicts Chinese women as brave as well. Although the Chinese of today are still patriarchal, the women have started establishing ...
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