2.) Kingston’s emotion-filled literature on the “No-Name Woman” is an excerpt from her award winning autobiographical novel, The Woman Warrior, which consists of five chapters containing stories about the women who have greatly influenced Kingston. One of those women is Kingston’s aunt who she refers to as the “No Name Woman” – the one who brought shame upon her family buy bringing an illegitimate child into the world and killing herself along with her newly born child.
Traditional Chinese ways were highly anchored on adherence to the social order and promoting social harmony, which was the Confucian way (Traditional Society and Culture N.d.). Moreover, the Chinese family system gave great importance to “filial piety” – love and obedience to one’s family – which means that considering the traditional Chinese society was also highly patriarchal, family members had to adhere to the wishes of the most senior male (Jordan 2006). That being said, the role of the Chinese woman was a minor one. Marriage for the Chinese wife simply meant being assimilated as an economically productive member of her husband’s family (Jordan 2006). Her role was to be obedient to her husband and extended family and bear them a child, preferably a son. Needless to say, being adulterous and having extramarital sexual relations was out of the question.
Given the nature of Chinese society at the time the “No Name Woman” had committed her sin, it would be safe to say that she had sinned against all of the above. She disgraced the memory of her absent husband by having unfaithful relations with another man and dishonored her role as a daughter-in-law to her extended family and her role as a daughter to her own. Her indecency in turn brought about social unrest and malevolence in a highly conservative Chinese village. Consequently, in a society that gives great importance to honoring the gods, the villagers brought it upon themselves to avenge the wrongdoing by wreaking havoc on No Name Woman’s entire household, forcing her to give birth in a pigsty and later on fling herself into a well.
1.) According to Fromm humanity has needs, which basically harp on belongingness and relatedness. Nobody wants to be alone. The need to find “someone” or “the one” so we don’t have spend our lives alone, would translate to one’s search for love. Love, whatever that may mean.
I admit that in the comings and goings of my everyday life there is always a conscious effort for me to look for my perfect someone – my twin soul – the one who wouldn’t make me feel alone. Thus, in the way that Fromm describes in his book, I am looking for the object of my affections – the ideal person I want to love and who I want to love me back. I’ve been in relationships before and I was always consumed with infatuation and the feeling that we couldn’t compliment each other more. Someone once told me that there is no greater feeling in the world than “falling in love”. Falling out of love on the other hand feels like getting slapped by reality in the face. My infatuation has always led to disappointment. Once you see the flaws in another person, and once they see the flaws in you, it becomes very difficult to love.
I believe that love, much like art, is an experience that is a mix of both good and bad. Like art, it takes an open mind, a willingness to come in contact with the unexplored; the ugliness that is in each and every one of us, and it takes the skill to turn that ugliness into beauty and acceptance. Like art it takes time and dedication, and a mastery of skills such as patience, kindness, understanding, forgiveness. Like paintings that are formed with careful brushstrokes, love is something that develops over time. And like any masterpiece, if well cared for it increases in value over time.
More than art or experience, I think love is a choice or a decision. More than a choice, it is a commitment to continue to try, to understand and to accept. Over the years I have found that to continue to love is one of the tougher choices in life. Though because of the person I’ve become because of it, I now know that love can be the answer to many things.