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Quotes

Quote #1

After my grandparents gave their daughter away to her husband's family, they had dispensed all the adventure and all the property. They expected her alone to keep the traditional ways, which her brothers, now among the barbarians, could fumble without detection. The heavy, deep-rooted women were to maintain the past against the food, safe for returning. But the rare urge west had fixed upon our family, and so my aunt crossed boundaries not delineated in space (1.20).

Kingston's family expects their daughter to carry on their culture and traditions while letting their sons move away from the family. Kingston shows how this different treatment according to gender manifests itself within family dynamics.

Quote #2

Sisters used to sit on their beds and cry together, she said, as their mothers or their slaves removed the bandages for a few minutes each night and let the blood gush back into their veins (1.25).

Kingston rewrites the painful practice of foot-binding Chinese women's feet as an opportunity for sisters to share with one another.

Quote #3

He may have been somebody in her own household, but intercourse with a man outside the family would have been no less abhorrent. All the village were kinsmen, and the titles shouted in loud country voices never let kinship be forgotten (1.33).

The situation with No Name Woman's lover is an example of how communities do not protect all their members equally.

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