In her postmodern autobiography. Woman Warrior. Maxine Hong Kingston narrates her life as a Chinese American fighting to happen her individuality in a place permeated by ambiguity. As Kingston matures. she comes to acknowledge the destructive nature of silence. and is able to joint the malignant cause and consequence relationship silence has on the single human mind every bit good as the well being of others. Kingston begins her autobiography by depicting silence as a double-edged blade. significance that while silence has the capableness to be used as a deathly arm. it is besides harmful to one that uses silence as a tool for censoring in an attempt to alter the yesteryear.
In the first chapter of her autobiography titled “No Name Woman” . Kingston opens up to a scene between Kingston and her female parent. When the two of them are entirely. her female parent imparts a awful secret about Kingston’s Aunt’s unfaithfulness. so forces her girl to take a vow of silence. pressing her to ne’er talk of her Aunt or to even admit her being: “ …they want me to take part in her penalty. And I have…the existent penalty was…the family’s intentionally burying about her” ( 16 ) . By declining to discourse Kingston’s Aunt. the household is efficaciously ending her being. but besides giving the awful secret more power.
The memory of Kingston’s Aunt is so stigmatic that subject of sex is indefinable. and even the word “Aunt” has the possible to strike her male parent with wretchedness. coercing him to dig into his painful memories. This position of silence as formidable power reflects Kingston’s position as a immature. waxy young person. racked with trepidation about the universe around her. As Kingston grows into an independent grownup. she begins to see silence as an hindrance on her self-expression. and grows to see silence with bitterness instead than with fearful fear.
In “A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe” . the concluding chapter of Kingston’s autobiography. Kingston describes her web with silence throughout childhood that restricted her creativeness and self-expression. In school. Kingston. holding been raised in a Chinese family. is unable to pass on with her English-speaking schoolmates. Therefore. Kingston comes to fear any signifier of socialisation. and quails from talking openly in forepart of the category or turn toing a instructor straight.
In this province of ageless silence. Kingston begins to look up to those who are non struck with panic at the idea of pass oning with other human existences. “I liked the Negro students…best because they laughed the loudest and talked to me as if I were a make bolding speaker too” ( 166 ) . While Kingston grows to look up to the loud. surpassing misss at school. she deplores those who are quiet and timid. much like Kingston herself. Kingston deflects her defeats onto one miss in peculiar. and accosts the soundless miss in the bathroom after school. urgently seeking to coerce her to talk: “If you don’t speak you don’t have a personality. You’ll have no personality and no hair.
You’ve got to allow people cognize you have a personality and a brain” ( 180 ) . Kingston’s pleadings with the soundless miss reflect Kingston’s interior anguish she has suffered at the custodies of digesting silence. The fact that Kingston finds likeness in the soundless miss heightens Kingston’s fierce hatred for her. but besides highlights her uncertainness about her ain individuality as she struggles to happen her ain voice that is being strangled by the steely clasp of silence. As an stripling. Kingston no longer adheres to hush: Kingston detests that silence has overcome her being. and is ready to arise against its oppressive nature. By the clip she is in late high school. Kingston feels suffocated by onerous silence.
Diing to voice her ideas. Kingston grows progressively edgy. and has an explosive confrontation with her female parent: “My pharynx hurt invariably. vocal cords taut to snapping…I looked straight at my female parent and at my male parent and screamed…and all of a sudden I got really baffled and lonely because at that minute I was stating her my list. and in the relation. it grew…no hearer but myself” ( 201-204 ) . During the climatic statement with her female parent. Kingston casts off the silence adhering her. but she besides drives a cuneus between herself and her female parent.
So much of Kingston’s paranoia subdivisions non from the silence imposed upon her. but from her inability to pass on her ain feelings. Contrary to Kingston’s belief. her female parent ne’er tried to get married her off to go a slave. and her household ne’er viewed her as stupid or ugly. With the adulthood of an grownup. Kingston is able to remember her memories non through word of oral cavity. but through utilizing her pen as a literary blade. By entering her confrontation
with her female parent with painstaking truth. Kingston portrays herself in an unflattering instead than in trying to reprimand her yesteryear. In maturity. Kingston has chooses a life of factualness instead than secrecy. and eventually casts the soundless sitting shade off of her thorax. Kingston’s germinating position of the power held by silence reflects her gradual ripening and her assurance in her ain abilities.
At one point Kingston cowered in forepart of the mighty and reprobating power of silence. but as she learns to believe for herself. Kingston Rebels against the silence and embraces a life free of uncertainness. happening comfort in humdrum and truth. More significantly. Kingston finds the bravery to be honest about herself. ( instead than staying soundless about her ridicule of the deaf-and-dumb person miss and her acerb outburst directed towards her female parent ) and dedicates her memoir to composing. guaranting that her memory will ne’er be eradicated or erased with clip. Therefore Kingston proves that while one may seek to overcast the truth with silence. the mighty pen can rend off silence’s pretense and set the truth free.