“No Name Woman” Maxine Hong Kingston

Topics: Morality, Marriage, Family Pages: 2 (553 words) Published: February 1, 2008
In the essay ?No Name Woman? Maxine Hong Kingston tells a story from her Chinese culture, of a forgotten aunt whose husband went to America. During his absence the aunt mysteriously became with child. No one in her village questioned her on how the child was miraculously conceived. Instead they attacked her and her family, showing their shame for the situation they were unwillingly placed in. Because the aunt is obviously pregnant by someone other than her husband the villagers consider her a threat to the ?roundness? that is created by accepted moral behavior and social stability of the village. When No Name Woman gets pregnant by someone other then her husband, she threatens what Kingston terms the ?roundness,? that is the harmony and the wholeness of her family and the larger community. This ?roundness? was enmeshed in everyday life symbolically, in ?the round moon cakes and round doorways, the round tables of graduated sizes that fit one roundness inside another, round windows and rice bowls? (35). An illegitimate child is someone who disturbs and harmony and wholeness of the village.

No Name Woman is attacked because her immoral action adultery, confirmed by her pregnancy, threatens moral behavior enforced through centuries of tradition. ?In the village structure,? Kingston notes, ?spirits shimmered among the live creatures, balanced and held in equilibrium by time and land? (34). When No Name Woman?s family banishes her from the family, she runs out into the fields surrounding the house and falls to the ground, ?her own land no more? (35). Her family no longer considers her among the ?live creatures.? When Kingston says the shimmering ?spirits? she implies that if the nonliving behave and nothing is out of balance, they will be protected, but their presence implies that both the living and the nonliving actively and forcefully protect the morals that stabilize the village. In violating socially accepted behavior, the aunt?s illegitimate child violates...
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