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The Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior

by Maxine Hong Kingston

Women and Femininity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Don't let your father know that I told you [about your forgotten aunt]. He denies her. Now that you have started to menstruate, what happened to her could happen to you. Don't humiliate us. You wouldn't like to be forgotten as if you had never been born. The villagers are watchful" (1.9).

We learn that some of the stories Kingston has been told were meant to be warnings. She must be a good girl for the sake of the family's reputation. It's ironic, that the very stories that later empower Kingston are the same ones told to her to limit her.

Quote #2

"I'm not a bad girl," I would scream. "I'm not a bad girl. I'm not a bad girl." I might as well have said, "I'm not a girl" (2.152).

Kingston grew up feeling like being born a girl was a set-back. The world treated her differently through no fault of her own.

Quote #3

It was said, "There is an outward tendency in females," which meant that I was getting straight A's for the good of my future husband's family, not my own. I did not plan ever to have a husband. I would show my mother and father and the nosey emigrant villagers that girls have no outward tendency. I stopped getting straight A's (2.160).

Because of other expectations of girls, Kingston manipulated her behavior in order to react against those patriarchal expectations. It becomes tricky because then Kingston's sense of self becomes confused – should she let herself do well in school or not? Who is she doing it for?

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