Both the poem and the novel show the repression of Chinese women and how they are seen as inferior to men. The women in these two pieces of writing grow up believing that men are superior to them and that they are worthless. Woman talks about how, in Chinese tradition, having a son is far better than having a daughter. The poem says this specifically, “No one is glad when a girl is born”(Fu 7). This idea set the stage for female repression and ensures that all girls begin their lives with hate and resentment. If you grow up with everyone telling you that you are worthless, then you begin to believe it. This idea is also central in Kingston’s childhood.
Kingston’s grandfather will never take her or her sister outside the house or even bring them candy. His granddaughters embarrass him, but he dotes on his grandsons. Kingston does not understand why this is, only that she is not important to her family. Both the poem and the novel speak of the stereotypes in Chinese culture that are put upon girls right from birth.In the poem Woman, the main character accepts her fate as inferior and does nothing to try to get herself out of the stereotype of worthlessness, much like the way that Moon Orchid does not assert herself. Her childhood of repression made her believe that she truly was of no importance.
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As the poem says, “How sad it is to be a woman!/Nothing on earth is held so cheap”(Fu 1-2). This woman ultimately gives up and does not fight for herself or her rights. The woman in the poem hides in her room and bows her head so no one can see her. She kneels and submits herself to her family, her husband, and even her servants. She asserts herself as the lowliest of the low because that is what society expects of her and what she expects of herself. This woman has never believed in her gender, nor seen anything or anyone to make her do so. She spends her whole life humbling herself and weakly giving in.
The woman in this poem is similar to Moon Orchid in The Woman Warrior. Moon Orchid is weak and timid. She does not believe in herself, just like the woman described in the poem. When Moon Orchid goes to win back her husband, all she can do is cry. “Moon Orchid began to whimper.
..all she did was open and shut her mouth without any words coming out”(Kingston 152).
Moon Orchid is too scared to speak up for herself, because she has never defended herself before and so she does not know how. Kingston does not portray Moon Orchid in.