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Through the story that her mother relates to her, Kingston the child recognizes the paradoxical disparity between the strength and heroic actions of women and their status as little more than domestic slaves and chattel in the view of traditional Chinese culture.
The book-length memoir from which “No Name Woman” was extracted, , was one of the first literary works to address the unique struggle for autonomy and identity that is faced by women of color in America, especially those who, as children of immigrants, traverse the border between American culture and that of their native country as embodied in the older generation.
In “No Name Woman,” Maxine Hong Kingston’s development of an autonomous self-identity is challenged by her need to reconcile the traditional Chinese treatment of women with her perception of women as essentially strong and good.
The degree of consensuality in this affair is not clear, although Kingston attempts retroactively to ameliorate the circumstances by imagining that her aunt was in love with her illicit partner.
Indeed, much of the narrative is given over to Kingston’s revisionist musings as to the potential motivations and possible outcomes of the story.
During his absence the aunt mysteriously became with child.
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No one in her village questioned her on how the child was miraculously conceived.Is Kingston probing what really happened to her aunt, or is she simply making up stories to satisfy herself?Is she doing justice to her aunt's memory or harming it?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.The shame surrounding the circumstances of No Name Woman’s death is so pervasive that she has been essentially excluded from the family history, even to the extent that she has been stripped of the ultimate badge of a person’s autonomy, a personal name.is determined to have had an affair that resulted in an out-of-wedlock birth.A description of how it was vital in the village to eliminate sexual attraction among kinsmen segues into Kingston's own peculiarities about making herself attractive to boys.The most vivid parts of the chapter are those in which Kingston lets her imagination about her aunt run free.The story begins with the narrator’s mother’s admonition that Kingston “must not tell anyone what I am about to tell you”.From the outset, the story of No Name Woman is swathed in the deep shame of the mother and, by extension, the entire network of family members.