Maxine Hong Kingston recounts her life as a Chinese American struggling to find her identity in a place steeped in ambiguity. As Kingston grows older, she comes to realize the destructive nature of silence and is able to conflate the evil cause and effect that silent relationships have on one human mind every bit as well as the well-being of others. Kingston begins hisautobiographyby depicting silence as a double-edged wedge, the meaning that while silence is immune to being used as a deadly hand, moreover, it is harmful to one who uses silence as acensorshiptool in an attempt to change the past year.
In the first chapter of her autobiography, entitled ” The Nameless Woman. Kingston opens with a scene between Kingston and her female parent. When the two are consummated, her parent conveys a terrible secret about Kingston’s aunt’s infidelity, so forces her girlfriend to take a vow of silence. Forcing her not to talk about her aunt or even acknowledge her existence, ” they want me to take part in her punishment. And I have… existing punishment… thefamilydeliberately buries about her” . By refusing to talk about Aunt Kingston, the family effectively ends her existence. But in addition to that horrible mystery gives more power.
The memory of Aunt Kingston is so stigmatized that the topic of sex is undefinable, and even the word ” aunt” can strike their male parent with unhappiness, forcing them to dig into their painfulmemories. This stance of silence as a formidable force reflects Kingston’s position as an immature, waxing young man excited by the thrill of the universe around her. As Kingston becomes an independent adult, she begins to see silence as an obstacle to self-expression and grows to see silence with bitterness rather than fear.
In ” The Song of the Barbary Reed Trumpet,” the final chapter of Kingston’s autobiography. Kingston describes a web of silence throughout herchildhoodthat limited her creativity and expression. At school, Kingston was raised in a Chinese family, unable to continue her studies with English-speaking classmates. Therefore, Kingston is wary of any signs of socialization and quails from speaking frankly in front of a category or from speaking directly to ateacher.
In this province of ageless silence, Kingston begins to look at those who do not panic at the thought of moving on to other human beings.
” I liked the Negro students best … because they laughed the loudest and talked to me like I was making them squeaky-clean speakers, too.” While Kingston grows up to watch the volume surpass the mistakes in school, she laments those who are quiet and timid, much like Kingston herself. Kingston reflects her defeats on one slip-up in a peculiar way. and emphasizes the silent slip-up in the bathroom after school, urgently trying to get her to speak, ” If you don’t speak, you have nopersonality. You won’t have a personality or a hair. You have to let people understand that you have a personality and a brain.” Kingston’s pleas with the silent miss reflects Kingston’s inner suffering that she endured on the custards of digesting silence. The fact that Kingston finds a resemblance in the silent miss reinforces Kingston’s fierce hatred of her, but also highlights her insecurities about her ayn personality as she struggles to make her ayn voice happen, which is choked by the steel clasp of silence. As a gargle, Kingston no longer adheres to silence: Kingston hates that silence has overcome her essence and is ready to rebel against its oppressive nature. At a clip she attends late high school, Kingston feels overwhelmed by the burdensome silence. Dives in to voice her ideas.
Kingston becomes increasingly irritable and engages in an explosive confrontation with her female parent: ” My throat hurts all the time. my vocal cords are strained to the point of clicking… I was looking right at my female parent and my male parent and screaming… and suddenly I felt very hard and lonely because at that minute I was saying my list to her. and because of that it grew… not the listener, but me.” During climate research with her female parents. Kingston throws off the silence clinging to her, but in addition she drives a wedge between herself and her female parent.
So many of Kingston’s paranoid units are not from the silence imposed on her, but from her inability to communicate her feelings. Contrary to Kingston’s beliefs, her female parent did not try to marry her to become a slave, and her family did not think she was stupid or ugly. In adulthood. Kingston remembers her memories not in words from her oral cavity, but by using her pen as a literary blade. Entering her confrontation
with her parent with painstaking truth, Kingston portrays herself in an unflattering rather than attempted reprimand for the past year. In maturity, Kingston chooses a life based on facts rather than secrecy. and eventually discards the silent sitting shade from her ribcage. Kingston’s sprouting position of strength, held by silence, reflects her gradual maturation and her confidence in her abilities in aina.
At one point Kingston rested in anticipation of the powerful and judgmental power of silence, but as she learned to believe in herself. Kingston rebels against the silence and embraces a life free of uncertainty. there is a comfort in routine and truth. More importantly. Kingston finds the courage to be honest. (instead of remaining speechless about her mockery of the deaf-mute miss and her harsh outburst directed at her female parent) and commits her memoir to composition, a guarantee that her memory will not be destroyed or erased at a clip. So Kingston proves that while one may seek to flood the truth with silence, a mighty pen can give away the pretense of silence and release the truth.