Different Perspectives

WEEK 47

BOOKS REMAINING:  3

CURRENT BOOK:  The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Although I was supposed to have received my packet for Ireland this week, I haven’t yet.  So I’m starting to get nervous!  They admitted there have been “delays” but we are coming down to the wire!!!

In the meantime, I am having a slow week at work except maybe for yesterday morning.  Slow enough to ask for work from whoever from any of the other groups, had anything that I could do.  And slow enough to sneak in a blog update.  This Friday is dragging along and pizza and a movie cannot come soon enough.

The Woman Warrior provides different perspectives on the lives of the women in a Chinese-American family in the 20th century.  One can see the position of women in Chinese society wherein some characters can remember that as they were growing up, the culture was changing but women still had their feet bound, and wherein a man could take multiple wives (although the first wife still enjoyed the highest social status).  For girls who grew up in a Chinese family and received an American education, they received conflicting messages about the appropriate standard of behavior for girls as the Chinese way was for a girl to be more demure while the American way was for a girl to be more assertive.  However, as it turns out in the end, even within the same family, parents can have different standards for their daughters and encourage one on the path to marriage and motherhood and the other on the path to education and a career.  And it seems wise for parents to recognize and support the uniqueness of each of their children, regardless of culture and gender.

Interestingly, the idea of the woman warrior refers to Mu Lan (as in the Disney movie) and one of the main characters looks to her as a role model rather than to women who fill more submissive roles expected of them by Chinese society.  The book also provides interesting insight into the superstitious nature of the Chinese, even the younger generation.  While The Joy Luck Club explored some of the same ideas, The Woman Warrior is like looking at another facet of the same diamond, and I am glad that The List included works representative of the Asian culture.

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