No Name Woman is one of the five interconnected chapters of The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston’s earliest book. Maxine Hong Kingston was born in Chinese immigrant family; on the pages of No Name Woman she describes her feelings and experiences living within two cultures: American and Chinese. Being a part of the first Chinese-Americans generation, Maxine Hong Kingston elucidates her own struggle for cultural and social identity through objective analysis of episodes from her childhood. The main ideas of the book are closely connected with modern ideas about man's place in society.
No Name Woman begins when trying to save the daughter from reckless behaviour the mother tells her one of the most tremendous mysteries of their family. Her father had a sister. Being married, she became pregnant from an unknown man. Being unable to endure terrible human judgment, she killed herself and her child. Now, the family pretends like she never existed. Little Kingston is deeply impressed by a story. The girl analyzes and conceits all the possible reasons why her aunt's dishonourable pregnancy and village reprobation made her commit suicide and even kill a newborn child.
Maxine Hong Kingston leaves an important message for readers. All family values usually derive from national culture. A young woman was punished for the adultery from her family by them forgetting she ever existed. It should be said that it is the highest dishonor in the Chinese culture. Little Kingston states all the difficulties in the identification and incorporation of Chinese culture in American society through rhetorical questions. It can be said that the forgotten sister of Kingston's father can be called a woman in the wrong time and the wrong place.
In spite of her mother forbids any mentions about the aunt, a little girl sympathizes with the poor woman. She calls her aunt No-Name-Woman, emphasizing the attitude of others to her miserable, doomed aunt. The author raises an extremely important issue. What kind of place has the woman in the modern world? The girl thinks, if the poor woman gave birth to a boy, she would have survived. However, the most probably she gave birth to a little girl. That is why the woman was doomed to death. It must be humiliating for No-Name-Woman to give birth to her child in the pigsty! Kingston acknowledges that it was not her aunt’s fault that she became pregnant. She just lived in the society that did not let her choose sexual partner. Besides, a rude man could make her do this. A little girl does not depict her aunt as a victim but also shows all possible ways for her social adaptation. She confesses that adultery is only a mistake during calm times, but it became a crime during bad ones.
The book affects the readers considerably. Kingston`s memoirs help to understand all emotions and feelings concerning woman place in cruel society. The intended audience of No Name Woman is people who are interested in social and cultural aspects of Chinese-Americans identifications and for people who value creative non-fiction literature.
As a conclusion, it should be said that the right to be free from all prejudices and preconceptions is great and necessary. One can agree with author, that each community develops its own system of control to maintain social order. Some of them instill this order by legal codes and others use social or moral codes to keep their community in check. The author notices, that a strict Chinese culture fails to be practical in humane American society.
This book should be recommended to those who have not read it. The readers can conclude that it is symbolic that Kingston does not know the name of her aunt. The readers might only wonder who else might be considered as a "No-Name-Woman" in the world. What else miserable person has been forgotten? How do these people can prove their existence and influence?