The Woman Warrior Essay Research Paper Throughout

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The Woman Warrior Essay, Research Paper Throughout the book, The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston, the generation gap between the narrator and Brave Orchid is evident. The narrator feels that her mother’s culture values have no relevance in America. In the chapter, At the Western Palace, Brave Orchid sends for her sister, Moon Orchid, to come to America and urges Moon Orchid to confront her sister’s husband. The ideas that Brave Orchid has are bold and they conflict with Moon Orchid’s nature. Brave Orchid and Moon Orchid are two Chinese women who live in two different countries. They are separated by a cultural gap rather than a generation gap. This gap between Brave Orchid and Moon Orchid has created two inimical viewpoints on the value of physical appearance,

necessity versus extravagance, and modesty in manner. Physical appearance is very important in America’s society whereas women in Asia only dress-up on special occasions. Most of the time, Asia’s women are cooking, cleaning, and sewing, which is manual work. In America, when women go out in public, they try to look presentable, pleasing to the human eye. After Moon Orchid arrives, one of the first things that Brave Orchid does is point out that Moon Orchid is fat and looks very old. “You’re an old woman…your hair is white and your face wrinkled…you’re so fat.” In Asia, fat people are considered to be rich. Being fat is a sign of being rich because only rich people can afford to eat so much that it would make them fat. In America, obesity is often times something

to be ashamed of. Americans seem to desire the body of a model. Brave Orchid also screams at her own children about their appearance but Moon Orchid always defends them. Brave Orchid is very concerned with physical appearance and how people view her and her family. When Moon Orchid’s daughter points out that her children can speak both Chinese and English, Brave Orchid immediately points out that her children could do the same. Brave Orchid did not want her family to appear stupid or uneducated. Moon Orchid is just the opposite. She does not worry about her looks. After Brave Orchid meets the second wife, she goes to Moon Orchid and says, “She’s very pretty and very young…you need to sit up straight. Use my powder. Be as pretty as you can. Other wise you won’t be able

to compete.” If I were trying to get my husband back, I would try to look beautiful, making him want to desire me. Moon Orchid does absolutely nothing. She shows up in her everyday clothes, which to some extent is considered dressed up, with probably no make-up on, waiting to meet her husband. If I had heard that the second wife was beautiful, I would have put on lots of make-up and tried to pretty myself up as much as possible. Moon Orchid did none of that. She felt that her appearance would not play a factor is whether her husband chose her or not. She felt that her husband would take her back if he wanted her regardless of her looks. Brave Orchid begged to differ. She felt that Moon Orchid would be no competition unless Moon Orchid tried to be as pretty as the second wife.

Brave Orchid thinks that how Moon Orchid looks would play a factor in whether Moon Orchid’s husband took her back. Brave Orchid, living in America, has been taught that physical appearance is extremely important if you want to succeed or get respect, whereas Moon Orchid has learned from Chinese culture that looks are not everything. Brave Orchid seems to strive for extravagance while Moon Orchid seeks only for necessity. When immigrants come from other countries, they strive to achieve the “American Dream.” Often times, they lose sight of their dream and are tempted and blinded by luxuries. People who live in Asia, work long, hard hours to support their family. In places like China, the best a person can do is to earn enough to provide his/her family with the bare