Tuesday, December 7th, 2010...12:38 am

Shaman and At the Western Palace

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Blog : comment on the enormous difference in Maxine’s mother in these two sections?

In these two sections I consider Maxine’s mother to be very independent in her way of thinking and beliefs in women’s rights. Independent in Shaman and women’s rights in At the Wester Palace. The two stories were very different from each other and very different from the first two stories as well, No Name Women and White Tiger. First two stories had alot to do with the traditions and how a women should behave.

In Shaman, Kingston’s mother Brave Orchid talks about her younger life. She tells Kingston on how she used her husbands money to go to Keung School of Midwifery, since her first two children died. It isn’t quite confirmed if she did have two children before Kingston because at the end she contradicts herself and tells Kingston she was her first born. In school she becomes known as one of the brilliant students in her class and finishes school with a career as a midwife. Not only a career but she also became know as a Shaman since she fought and destroyed ghosts.

*shaman – messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds.

At times I felt as if Kingston had a sense of pride for her mother. She didn’t have a traditional way of living but had a career going for herself. And then when her mother mentions about her buying a slave nurse and saying on how she had to pay $200 to birth Kingston, she felt a bit ashamed or embarrassed? Not sure of the feeling, but I definitely know it wasn’t pride.

After being a midwive, Brave Orchid comes to America to be with her husband. But instead of having a career for her own, she works in a laundromat and in a tomato field. Its a different world for her and by the way she describes herself working harder and aging faster, it seems she hates it in America. Maybe that’s why she might not be that close to her daughter as seen in the other stories. She came to America like every other parent to give their children a better life but at the same time their own life is being sacrificed.

In At the Western Palace, Brave Orchid shows her independent side as well as her women’s right attitude when her sister Moon Orchid comes to stay with her. Moon got married with her husband in China before he came to “The Gold Mountain.” Although he sends her money, she finds out that he has another wife and three children here in America. Brave Orchid tells Moon to confront her husband and claim her right as his wife, but she is to timid and embarrassed to see him.

“He’s living in Los Angeles with his second wife, and they have three children. Claim your rights. Those are your children. He’s got two sons. You take them away from her. You becomes their mother.”

When Brave Orchid finally makes Moon confront her husband, he tells her he wants nothing to do with her. Embarrassed from what happened, Moon starts to get a bit crazy. She says she sees Mexican Ghosts who want to kill her. She is then taken to a mental asylum where she ends up dieing. Unlike Brave Orchid and her way of thinking, Moon was the complete opposite. Having her husband in America, she didn’t take the money he send her to make a career of her own. She didn’t know how to do basic household chores meaning she had servants and when she came to the US I guess she noticed that she really didn’t have a life of her own. The difference between these two women showed me that although Brave Orchid is hard on Kingston, it could be for a reason. Maybe she doesn’t want her daughter to be dependent of her but be independent and care for her own because you never know what life may bring.

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