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No name woman, by Maxine Hong Kingston, exposed the harsh culture of the Chinese in the 1920’s. Women were treated as breeders and slaves to their husbands. The unborn is the narrator’s aunt; whom she never had the chance to meet. The mother tells the story while her daughter listens to the devastating suicide of her aunt. The narrator of the story struggles to find the morals of her deceased aunt; she attempts to reveal and understand the Chinese culture in the 1920’s versus the American culture she currently lives in. Chinese culture in the 20’s has always been a patriarchal society. The men are completely dominant; they provide money and shelter for the women and children. Women, on the other hand, do not have any power in decision-making, “women in the old China did not choose” (825). They had no say in who their husband would be or how many children they had to have. When they were commanded to do a chore or to cook they were forced to only follow their husband’s wishes. During the adolescent age, “brothers and sisters, newly men and women, had to efface their sexual color and present plain miens” (828). Everyone in the Chinese society looked the same; there was no make-up or trendy hairstyles to make a unique appearance. The hair must be pulled up in a bun when young and when they married, women could cut their hair. A common characteristic of the Chinese was the temptation to grab attention by speaking loudly or shouting at family gatherings (828). The narrator even admits her mother still shouts in the library or other quiet areas. The adjustment from Chinese culture to Chinese-American culture has been different for her family. In the 1970’s the “first American generations have had to figure out the invisible world the emigrants built around [her] childhood in solid America” (824). The narrator feels like her immediate family is not adjusting to the American culture effectively. The narrator’s family has a secret. Her aunt became a disgrace to their family and village in China. Her mother states, “your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born” (823). In the Chinese culture, committing sexual relations outside of marriage is considered dishonoring your family’s name. Family values are very important and committing infidelity equals banishment from the village. When the narrator’s aunt becomes pregnant, and her husband had been away for years, “no one said anything. [They] did not discuss it” (823). The father essay writers of the baby was unknown, but, the family did not even attempt to find him. Not only did the aunt sin, but her baby would forever live in sin because of her mother’s actions. In the Chinese culture, their past stayed with them forever; they couldn’t start over like the Japanese and become a Samurais or Geishas (826). They were forced to the outcast table during family feasts and were basically shunned. On top of becoming impregnated by another man, the aunt had a daughter; which, “to have a daughter in starvation time was a waste enough” (825). Producing a male was more beneficial to the village and carrying on the family name. Obedience is the main factor in this story. The dominance of the male required, “she [obey] him, she always did what she was told” (825). Therefore, the chain reaction occurred, the aunt became pregnant and cursed the village. Even throughout childbirth she never revealed the father’s identity. Just hours before she delivered, the village ransacked and raided her home. They screamed, “Look what you’ve done. You’ve killed us. Ghost! Dead ghost. You’ve never been born” (830). This disgrace only left her to commit suicide with her child. If she decided to stay in this world she would forever be an outcast and her daughter would be treated as a living curse. Even though she took her and her child’s life, “infidelity had already harmed the village, the waves of consequences would return unpredictable, sometimes in disguise… to hurt her” (830). The damage was already done. She disrespected her family’s name. Also, the village had to suffer penalties from her actions. They believe the breaking of the village code would set a curse on them. Her mother voiced this particular story to ensure her daughter does not make the same mistake. Even though they are now experiencing Chinese-American culture, the Chinese culture still remains dominant in their family. Her aunt sinned over 50 years ago when this story was told; however, the ramifications are still affecting her family. This story was mentioned to prevent another family crisis and to keep the family name free of sin.

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