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Finding a Way Maxine Kingstons memoir The Woman Warrior describes the struggles of a Chinese-American woman growing up as she attempts to find a balance between two cultures and to find her own identity within them Kingstons novel abounds with imagery from the ghosts and barbarians to the different colors black white and red Every talk-story has a place and meaning and every character is introduced in a way to clarify Kingstons motives for writing Through her stories she makes it evident that she experiences many conflicts between what she is being taught at home and what she is experiencing in American society Kingston clearly establishes her beliefs and values of Chinese culture in each talk-story and then points out the contrasts with American culture Her mother wants to instill traditional Chinese values in her daughter with the desire that her daughter become a strong unique individual - a woman warrior The first talk-story creates a sense of the Chinese traditional values Kingston encounters at home This story describes the shunning of the aunt who has an affair with and becomes pregnant by an unnamed man in her village The seriousness of her betrayal was conveyed through the repeated words like forbidden alone and separate The villagers punished the aunt for acting as if she could have a private life secret and apart from them p13 The Chinese culture is initially portrayed as brutal and ever present in Kingstons home where even now China wraps double binds around her feet p48 She explains her fears of not being good enough in her mothers eyes when she tells us we Chinese girls listened to the adults talk-story we learned that we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves We could be heroines swordswomen p19 In the chapter entitled White Tigers Kingston explores the tale of Fa Mu Lan a daughter who took her fathers place in the
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