“No Name Woman”

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Cultural Perspective

Cultural perspective is an area that describes the way of life of a certain community of people in society. When contemplating the aspects of each society, there are three types of cultural studies that form the basis of learning how a community of people has lived in peace with one another over the decades. Current historicism, postcolonialism, and American multiculturalism are examples of these. And the fact that each study has a different emphasis, they are all about social and cultural forces that either create or endanger a community's life. In most cases, scholars involved in the investigation of community cultures put forth the assumption that a predominant group in the society defines what is acceptable and not acceptable for the whole community. Consequently, the paper will focus on analyzing the text of the article “No Name Women” with respect to the cultural studies based on three dimensions; that is new historicism, post-colonialism, and multiculturalism.

New Historicism and Chinese Society

New historicism accepts to challenge the dominant position believed by the deconstructionists. Given that this kind of cultural study seems grounded in sociology, psychology or economics, the scope of review by the new historicists is wide because every part of the culture is influencing and shaping each other. Accordingly, it becomes almost impossible for one technique to address all the aspects of new historicism in the society. The author of the article uses the latest historicism concept to discuss the life of the Chinese during the pre-colonial era. The Chinese lived in fortified homesteads like brothers and sisters sharing whatever they had; ranging from food to wells. Kingston provides a history of the main character’s family encounters after a group of individuals who came from a nearby settlement invaded their village killing all the livestock ranging from chicken to cattle. However, it is obvious that the author finds it difficult to conserve pure objectivity in exploring the history of the Chinese people as he attempts to remain bias. Kingston focuses more on the underprivileged in the society; the Chinese woman. The author tends to read the Chinese culture as oppressive and tyrannical to the women. The men left the women behind sailing away to the Americas to look for better living and a great lifestyle. Women were to be submissive to their families and husbands even if they were away from home. Kingston confirms the oppressive nature of the Chinese culture whereby when a woman was married even the sister became married to the family of the husband of the married woman. The author self-positions himself to undermine the social integration and culture of the Chinese people by pursuing his point of view concerning the issue of traditions. Cultural materialism plays a considerable part in the delivery of the text. Cultural materialism demands for a transformed awareness of the lifestyle of the people in this society and a deeper understanding of how belief of women greatly influenced their existence in the community during this era. Nonetheless, cultural materialism tends to lean more towards the political position and expectations than the new historicism. In regards to this aesthetic study, Kingston discourses all the discursive actions to discover the episteme and constraints that persons cannot speak or think without risking their exclusion or silencing in the community. Some of these practices include wrongdoers and women who get pregnant with outsiders.

Impact of Post-colonialism on Chinese Culture

Post-colonialism is another area of cultural studies employed by scholars to explore the culture of a given society in the pre-colonial era. Colonialism refers to the subjugation of one population or a group of people to the other. However, most people consider the term to mean physical conquest yet in on a broader spectrum in entails the cultural, political and economic dominance. During colonization, individuals in a given society lose their traditional practices by emulating the behavior and beliefs of the colonizing master thus watering their traditional lifestyle. Important parts of the culture such as clothing, food, and recreation tend to weaken, as they are replaced or concealed thus eliminating the culture from history. The Chinese men sailed away to seek a better fortune as emigrants because the Americas had a better economic rank than the backward society in other parts of the world particularly Asia. Accordingly, this affected the cultural and social institutions of the Chinese people as some of the emigrants did not return home leaving the women and young men to head the families. The American economy led to the colonization of the Chinese culture and economic advancement. Kingston employs a post-colonial aspect of cultural studies to focus and discuss how the Chinese people (colonized) accepted the values of the more prominent culture while at the same time resist them. Additionally, it explores how the European managed to impose and maintain political, economic and cultural domination of the rest of the world. The belief that the Western countries’ morals and practices were universal was a factor that supported the use and application of post-colonial to study the culture of the Chinese through a story-telling forum. The society oppresses the minor characters (women) for instance; the listener’s aunt drowns herself in the family well after the attack. The action taken by the aunt is clear sign that women have no say and they are not allowed to have sex outside marriage though men have the freedom to indulge in this immoral behavior.

Multiculturalism and Chinese Society

Multiculturalism is another type of cultural studies that has supported historian to study the social and integral aspect of the community. The implementation of laws that fight to discontinue racial discrimination besides school exclusion has permitted the coexistence of various cultures, which attracted the Chinese men to sail away to the Americas. When considering a multicultural perspective, Kingston looks for more properties of the Chinese culture other than material, method, and purpose to uncover the development of the culture during pre-colonial period. The author attempts to make the reader anticipate for some specific features of the culture two cultures (America and Chinese) which makes his work unpredictable and exclusive. The mother narrates to her daughter a tall tale about how the culture has undermined the free will of women in the Chinese society. Additionally, the story told to the listener is full of hyperbole of how the intruders invaded their village. Exaggeration helps the audience to understand the dire consequences of evil actions such as having an intimate relationship with outsiders who are not from within the family homestead.

January 25, 2023

Education Sociology



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Study Understanding Community

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