Heroes are people who dedicate their lives to other things that are bigger than them. Heroes are people who are distinguished because of their courage and capability, and people admire them because they have noble qualities and superior deeds. Heroes also perform heroic acts that are praised by others. In the book, the Woman Worrier there are certain heroic characters that have been analyzed by the author. The author presents different women such as mothers, aunts and women worriers in different qualities and style and he also brings out their weaknesses clearly. The discussion below is a detailed argument about the characters in this book that represent heroic characters.
One of the lead characters in the Woman Worrier is Brave Orchid who is also the mother of the narrator. She is portrayed as an intelligent woman who is a doctor, and she is completely different from the rest of the Chinese women in the village she comes from. The other women are portrayed as housewives who sit back at home to nurse their children and carry out other house chores. She is viewed as an independent woman because her husband is in New York a city that is miles away from china, and completely supports herself emotionally and mentally. After attending a medical school in her province, Brave Orchid becomes the brightest woman in her school very quickly, and she memorizes and repeats information with ease. She is portrayed as a brave woman because she is fearless and calm when the rest of the women are anxious. She even offers to sleep in the ghost room and when a Sitting Ghost climbs on her when she is sleeping in the dormitory she is able to handle the situation.
After returning to her village, Brave Orchid is highly lauded because of being a doctor. She becomes an exceptional and a renowned doctor for delivering babies. She also vanquishes ghosts. Brave Orchid is portrayed as a powerful woman and from the book it is clear that she not only a medical doctor, but also a mediator and is capable of destroying evil spirits. Bravo Orchid uses her skills to ease the nerves of the villagers when Japanese planes fly overhead during the Second World War. In the story, heroes were people who sent away ghosts by cooking and eating them. They were also known as Big Eaters. Based o the fact that, Brave Orchid could eat almost everything the narrator addresses this as a sign of bravely. According to the stories that Brave Orchid told her children, she was so determined to make them brave eaters.
Bravo Orchid is a woman who qualifies to be called a hero. She is a strong woman who fights ghosts and also she is a great doctor who is highly praised in her village. She is a brave woman, a character that is mostly associated with men but she still retains her feminine qualities. However, being a woman, there are certain characters that make it hard for her to be considered as a hero. According to the story Brave Orchid is also portrayed as a fearful person. Fear is a character that is not associated with heroes. Part of her soul leaves her body when she encounters the sitting ghost. Her brevity is outdone by the fear inside her soul. In fact, she does not have enough power to defeat the sitting ghost completely.
Fa Mu Lan is a mythical female worrier and her story is told through Kingston’s first person narrative. She trained to become a worrier since she was seven years old, and becomes a leader in an army of men. She is a strong woman who even pretends to be a man, and she is also strongly against corruption. She is also portrayed as a loving woman and mother after she is done with her battles. She is also brought out as a source of great power and independence. Fa Mu Lan qualifies to be a hero and because she is a Chinese legend who can be envied by many women. In fact, Kingston tries to compare and contrast her story with that of Fa Mu Lan simply because she admires her strength and brevity.
Kingston derives her talk-story about Fa Mu Lan from a Chinese folk story about a woman known as Mu Lan, It sketchily narrates how Mu Lan used to fight in place of her dad when he was drafted to the Chinese army. The common thing between Mu Lan and Fa Mu Lan is tha after the wars they both go back focus on family life after the wars. Mu Lan is a heroine who is in one way or another similar to Fa Mu Lan.
Maxine is strongly inspired by the stories that her mother narrates to her. The story that strongly inspires is the story about Fa Mu Lan. Maxine is able to develop a fantasy of a swordswoman who has privileges that are mostly possessed by men. In the narrator’s mind, an ideal woman warrior is the one who is the one who has the ability to demonstrate that she can carry out duties that are done by both men and women. She is a girl who grows up in an anti-female environment where sexist expressions are commonplace. She demonstrates that she is not a useless woman by working hard in school, getting the best grades, and going to college, but still does not gain any recognition. She hopes to be welcomed home in a style but in reality that happens to her brother, who comes back home alive from Vietnam.
However, Maxine realizes that the only thing she can do is to deal with her racist boss by protesting in her small voice but the boss casually ignores. Finally, even after recognizing the impossibility of becoming a woman worrier in reality, she identifies herself with the swordswoman in her fantasy. She wishes that her people can understand the similarity between her and the swordswoman, so that she can return to them. Maxine also realize the power of using words as a metaphorical weapon to let out the vengeance of enduring injustices that result from racial differences, and sexual injustice since she was a child. Maxine is a hero because; although her people do not recognize the power and strength in her she has the qualities of a hero. She is a hardworking woman, who tries to fight injustices with a word of mouth although she is ignored by the boss. She successfully carries on with her education; finally she comes up with a way of releasing her feelings about sexual and social injustices.
Moon Orchid the aunt to the narrator is also portrayed as a strong woman. She does not raise any confrontations despite being disappointed by her husband. She is highly pressured by her sister Brave Orchid but she is able to overcome the pressure. She is ready to move on by herself after realizing that her husband has married another woman in the United States.
Traditionally, strong women fail to be recognized in the society. For instance, even after working so hard in school and passing with an excellent grade, Maxine is not welcomed back home with a party as she expected. Instead, a welcome party is conducted for her brother who comes back home alive from Vietnam. This shows that men are more recognized in the traditions of her home than women. She is an exceptional woman, who has admired the legends in her society since she was a young child and has finally worked hard to be like them. However, her people do not seem to understand or notice since she is a woman. She realizes that in real life, it is almost impossible to have a woman worrier who is lauded by her people. Also, Brave Orchid is fearful despite the fact that she is a powerful and a strong woman. This is a weakness that overpowers the much strength that makes her a hero. It is also hard to recognize women as heroes in her traditions because they are cursed because of the small mistakes they make. For instance her aunt who gave birth to a child before marriage was not even supposed to be mentioned.
Woman Worrier is a book that brings out the strength of a woman .It portrays the potential of a woman in the society by portraying her as a person who is capable of doing what men can do.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Novato, Calif: New World Library, 2008. Print.
Cormier, Robert. Heroes: A Novel. New York: Random House Children's Books, 2009. Internet resource.
Kingston, Maxine H, and Sau-ling C. Wong. Maxine Hong Kingston's "the Woman Warrior": A Casebook. New York, NY [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999. Print.
Kingston, Maxine H. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. New York: Vintage eBooks, 2010. Internet resource.
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