Maxine's Struggle In The Woman Warrior

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The central conflict of the memoir is Maxine’s struggle to find her identity and voice because of her split background between China and the United States. Throughout her life, she has been living in two worlds with completely opposite ideas about the roles of woman and capabilities of woman. Moreover, Maxine’s mother represents the cultural ideals and concepts about women in China, or that they are lesser than men,while Maxine’s American schooling personifies the value in the United States that women should be quiet. Even though there are similarities between the two, Maxine is conflicted about which parts to embrace, making her bottle herself up and lose her voice. Kingston, author of the Woman Warrior, describes this internal identity crisis…show more content…
Because of this, it difficult for her to foster beliefs and a sense of selfhood. In addition, she is constantly consuming juxtaposing principles, constructing inconsistent ethics and goals in her mind. This does not allow her to have any goals to strive towards,become an individual or create her own identity. Blue Orchid tells her a story in which “"the old woman told [her], "is how to be quiet." They left me by streams to watch for animals. "If you're noisy, you'll make the deer go without water" (23) This message is confusing for Maxine because she believes that woman from the Unites States are quiet, but her mother is telling her it is a Chinese trait. This constant overlap and contrast of American and Chinese throughout the book makes Maxine unsure of herself and her ability to have a voice, causing it to be the central conflict of the…show more content…
The moment where the central conflict explodes happens when Maxine is telling her family her list of mistakes and consequently at long last expresses her inner feelings. She is finally expressing herself and taking control of her own identity, which is the main conflict of the book. Kingston shows this when she writes, “You think you can give us away to freaks.You better not do that, Mother … If I see him here one more time, I’m going away” (201). Maxine has strived to vocalize her thoughts freely towards boh in American society or school and at home or in her Chinese community. Because of this, her large release of bottled up feelings is the arch of the plot. Every struggle we have seen up to that point climaxed when she opened up and began to assert herself and consequently begin to develop an identity. Kingston also conveys this when she writes, “I don’t need anyone to pronounce English words for me. I can figure them out by myself.”(201), showing her newly found self confidence and trust in herself as an individual, which she has struggled to obtain throughout the novel. Overall, this scene from chapter five was the climax of the novel because it was Maxine release of all her accumulation of her thoughts, opinions and

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