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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

Women in the old China did not choose. Some man had commanded her to lie with him and be his secret evil. I wonder whether he masked himself when he joined the raid on her family (1.15).

Kingston's specific usage of "old China" in this excerpt distinguishes the right to choose from American and modern Chinese approaches.

Quote #2

The immigrants I know have loud voices, unmodulated to American tones even after years away from the village where they called their friendships out across the fields. I have not been able to stop my mother's screams in public libraries or over telephones (1.30).

Kingston is fascinated by the vocality of Chinese immigrants who speak at loud Chinese volumes without worrying about American etiquette.

Quote #3

Walking erect (knees straight, toes pointed forward, not pigeon-toed, which is Chinese-feminine) and speaking in an inaudible voice, I have tried to turn myself American-feminine (1.31).

Kingston feels torn between the different ideas of femininity in China and in the United States. The fact that she chose to be more American, demonstrates that sometimes gender is socially and culturally constructed.

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