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Both stories are similar because they explore the theme of personal identity. Kingston’s “No Name Woman” explores the narrator’s struggles to connect her American identity with the Chinese Identity. Similarly, Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek” explores how Cleófilas’ Chicano identity affects her marriage and relationship. Therefore, the protagonists in both stories are women and they are struggling to reconcile two diverse cultures.
In “No Name Woman,” Maxine Hong Kingston searches for personal identity by exploring a narrative of her aunt who also makes the title of the first chapter. Kingston’s mother warns her that “You must not tell anyone…she had never been born” (Kingston1507). However, Kingston ignores her mother warning and explores her Chinese cultural background which she intends to reconcile with her current American identity.
Through listening and altering the tales shared by her mother about the link between her family and Chinese culture, Kingston succeeds to uncover the significance of the Chinese cultural history. Kingston refers to the historical narrative as “talk-stories” which were primarily anchored on culture and they also served as oral tales whose primarily purpose is quite didactic (Kingston 1507). We later learn that Kingston mother is called Brave Orchid. “No Name Woman” provides Kingston with a valuable opportunity to explore her cultural history in in-depth.
Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek” examines themes of American-Mexican or Chicana identity, gender politics and immigration. Therefore, the story is closely related to “No Name Woman.” A young woman, Cleófilas Enrqueta DeLeón Hernández, is struggling to escape an abusive marriage. Her father gives Juan Pedro permission to marry Cleófilas and cross the border to America with her. The young woman leaves all her life looking for passion: “But what Cleófilas has been waiting for, has been whispering and sighing and giggling…” (Cisneros 1588).
Cleófilas’s background shows that she had little to do in her native town and she was mostly entertained by “telenovelas” and aspired to take after the females superstars featured in the series. The young woman copied the makeup, hair and even modified her wedding dress to resemble the superstars she had been watching in her hometown (Cisneros 1589). Cisneros has broadly explored Chicana women who have been candid enough to resist unacceptable behaviors both in their cultures and other cultures. In a nutshell, both women in the two narratives are trying to reconcile their current American identity with their ancestral identities.
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