Fa Mu Lan Characters

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In “White Tigers,” Kingston opens by talking about how she listened to the adults’ talk-stories about powerful swordswomen, and that her mother taught her the chant of Fa Mu Lan. Fa Mu Lan’s story inspires the author to reach farther than the prescribed gender roles for women, and she decides that she wants to grow up to become a warrior woman (Kingston, p. 18). We can understand this chapter as a young girl playing pretend, by putting herself in Fa Mu Lan’s shoes and yet rewriting the traditional story for herself. Through Fa Mu Lan’s story, Kingston explores the ways of the literal woman warrior by talking at length about traveling to a mountaintop to undergo warrior training under the supervision of an elderly couple (Kingston, p. 19),…show more content…
34). Towards the end of the chapter, the story is brought back into reality as Kingston reveals that her real life is disappointing. She lacks the bravery and command she has in her fantasy of being Fa Mu Lan—her family does not respect her, and she has grown to loathe their misogynist sayings and attitudes towards girls (Kingston, p. 35). In her fantasy, she led an army--at her workplace, she meekly stands up to her racist boss and gets fired (Kingston, p. 37). In terms of being a woman warrior, then, where does she stand? Women warriors do not always have to be a traditional beacon of bravery and courage, and her fantasy shows that she has self-awareness and wants something more than what she has. This chapter shows that there is something more happening under the surface despite the timid way she acts with her outside world, and that she wants to develop the traits of a woman…show more content…
42); she got to live the “daydream of women” by having only herself to take care of during her time in college (Kingston, p. 44); and Kingston devotes a lot of time to describing how serious Brave Orchid is in her demeanor, never smiling in photos and being diligent in her studies (Kingston, p. 43, 45). When the other girls in the dorms are scared of ghosts, Brave Orchid fearlessly volunteers to sleep in the ghost room that they are afraid of, refusing the talismans that they offer because she wants to see what kind of ghost it is for herself (Kingston, p. 47, 48). Once Brave Orchid is in the room, she encounters a ghost, but she threatens it and refocuses her thoughts towards her studies until it goes away, and later recruits her roommates to chase the ghost away the next night (Kingston, p. 50, 52). Throughout the entire chapter, Kingston describes Brave Orchid’s ghost-fighting as well as her practices as a doctor, with both a sense of awe and uneasiness—she is chilled when her mother describes the way midwives kill female infants, and has nightmares after she tells her about the baby born without an anus (Kingston, p. 60). Kingston also admiringly talks about the fact that Brave Orchid can “eat anything,” making her fit to fight against ghosts (Kingston, p. 61). In

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