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A Personal Reflection Essay

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Women face innumerable and ubiquitous challenges, most of which are directly related to their gender. The feminist movement was birthed through necessity from this conclusion. Although I do not directly link Edwidge Danticat and Maxine Hong Kingston with the feminist movement, I believe their works illustrate the great struggles and obstacles that a woman’s birth supplies her. The women in their books are heartbroken, weak and somewhat flawed, and it is through these flaws that the application of their influence on my life began, and the reason I feel a strong kinship with these fictional, and sometimes not so fictional characters. The guttural aches the heroines in both passages faced, endured and overcame are not unlike those I have experienced as a child and a young woman. I too have lost love, had love unrequited, and have been pregnant bringing disgrace upon my family of great traditions.
After reading Children of the Sea and the first chapter of The Woman Warrior, I walked away with an acute awareness of the injustices pressed upon women within the Chinese and Haitian cultures. For me, reading these passages were simultaneously enlightening and infuriating, stirring up questions and emotions within me that drew directly back to judgments and condemnations placed upon me in my own life, and because I am a woman. The disturbing images penned by Hong Kingston were reminiscent of those I have read about in Western Civilization texts, but had also witnessed in both my life and that of one of my close friends. Culturally, the circumstances of the women in the stories from China couldn’t be more distinct and in opposition to the stories of the women from Haiti. Hong Kingston details a life of bondage for the superior elite, a...


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...ng kinship with the fictional young woman and the forgotten aunt in these stories. We are linked because of their challenges. My past is weaved in with theirs because we share a gender and a common verdict. I too have participated in judgment and condemnation unaware, and against other women. This is not my proudest act, but one I have discovered through this reflection. Madeleine Albright once said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”, and now I believe I can understand why she said it.



Works Cited

Danticat, Edwidge. Krik? Krak! New York: Vintage, 1996. page nr. 11 Print.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. Perfection Learning, 1989. page nr. 5 Print.

Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. Perfection Learning, 1989. page nr. 16 Print.



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