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Word Count: 1,117
Between the Two Worlds For most immigrants finding identity and carving out a personal space in an alien culture with its peculiar life-styles heritage traditions and language is difficult Living on the edge of two distinct communities makes it harder to adjust to the standards of the new culture and at the same time retain all the values of the old one In her autobiographical novel The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston dramatizes the conflict of growing up among contradictions and confusions between the home and alien cultures and languages For much of her life Kingston feels torn between her Chinese heritage and her American destiny she oscillates between the two worlds of China and America functioning in relation to both yet wholly belonging to neither Ultimately however she is able to reconcile the two disparate cultures and incorporate them into her own story into one song The tales of the women in the book and particularly of her mother have a significant influence on the formation of Kingstons identity But she does not just blindly accept these stories she tries to reinterpret them through her own vision of the world and her own understanding of how it works Kingston begins her journey by looking at her aunts life in China a woman whose identity has been denied due to her pregnancy out of wedlock now the family never speaks of her It is Kingstons mother who tells her daughter this story and Kingston recognizes the importance of these words a story to grow up on 13 She recognizes the power of her mothers rhetoric At last I saw that I too had been in the presence of great power my mother talking-story 25 The tales about Kingstons aunt Fa Mu Lan and the story of her mothers life both factual and fantastic keep piling up and make Brave Orchid a complete person in her daughters eyes a person to be proud of and at
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