Submitted By gbarragan
Words: 6864
Pages: 28

Gloria Barragan
Mrs. Bartman
English 12 AP
30 April 2015
The Woman Warrior “At the Western Palace” Essay The fourth chapter of The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, “At the Western Palace” differs from the previous chapters. Previously, Kingston’s mother began the chapters with a talk story; this chapter begins as a narrative. Moon Orchid comes to visit her sister Brave Orchid in America. The two sisters have not seen each other in years and are amazed at how they look when they finally see each other. In Moon Orchid’s time in America, Brave Orchid pushes her to become the woman warrior she could be. Her sister pushes her to reclaim her husband and become a wife again, and she hesitates. Moon Orchid does not accept the challenge and is defeated by the culture shock in America. The chapter also demonstrates the differences between the two sisters, and the different lifestyle they’ve had. Brave Orchid was a working woman in China and in America, and Moon Orchid has always had servants to help her out. When she arrives at America, Moon Orchid fails at completing simple tasks and conforming to American life. The theme of “At the Western Palace” is the contrast between American and Chinese culture. In her visit to America, Moon must learn to adapt and transition to life in America. The theme of the chapter is demonstrated through the use of: tone, diction, figurative language, imagery, syntax, form and structure, characters, setting, point of view, and irony. The chapter begins as a narrative, with a third person as a speaker, “When she was about sixty-eight years old, Brave Orchid took a day off to wait at San Francisco International Airport for the plane that was bringing her sister to the United States. She had not seen Moon Orchid for thirty years”(Hong Kingston, 113). It has been three decades since Brave Orchid had last seen her sister. The chapter does not begin with a talk story by the mother, showing how Kingston was there to witness the event of her aunt, Moon Orchid coming to visit. The previous chapters have been of woman warriors, both successful and unsuccessful, however, because Moon Orchid is not a woman warrior the structure differs. Brave Orchid begins the chapter, excited to see the sister she has not seen in decades. She makes her trip to the airport daylong awaiting the arrival of her sister: She had begun this waiting at home, getting up a half-hour before Moon Orchid’s plane took off in Hong Kong. Brave Orchid would add her will power to the forces that keep an airplane up. Her head hurt with concentration…she had already been waiting at the airport for nine hours. She was wakeful. (113)
Brave Orchid, as a shaman, believes she has supernatural abilities; in this case, being able to keep the plane up. She is excited to see her sister to train her in becoming a woman warrior and to get a piece of China back in her life. The day long flight for Moon Orchid was just as long for Brace Orchid’s preparation for the arrival of her sister. This shows how Brave Orchid takes on the nurturing mother role for her younger sister. Brave Orchid brings her children along the airport to meet their aunt, “Her American children could not sit down for very long. They did not understand sitting; they had wandering feet” (113). Her children, Kingston and a son, are Americanized. Chinese girls had their feet binded to prevent them from being free; the binding of the feet was an imprisonment. In America, they have freedom, her children are able to walk around and move. They don’t sit down. Brave Orchid understands the influence America had in her children. Because Brave Orchid spends the entire day at the airport, she brings food for her children and niece, On the floor she had two shopping bags full of canned peaches, real peaches, beans wrapped in taro leaves, cookies, Thermos bottles, enough food for everybody, though only her niece would eat with her. Her bad boy