How does the story of Moon Orchid illuminate Kingston's personality and choices in The Woman Warrior?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In most ways, Moon Orchid represents all that her sister Brave Orchid (and Kingston) are not.  Moon Orchid is aware of her husband's mistress, yet she does not insist that he leave his mistress after Moon Orchid arrives in America.  Brave Orchid is outraged by her sister's passivity, but Moon Orchid says that she is nervous about confronting her husband.  Brave Orchid thinks that her sister should stand up for herself, but Moon Orchid does not seem to care.  Kingston reveals that she has much of her mother's personality and insists on standing up for herself when she feels that it is necessary.  In the last chapter of the book, Kingston torments her classmate because she cannot stand the girl's silence.  Moon Orchid also chose to remain silent for many years, and this is somewhat of an outrage.  However, after Kingston considers her actions and motives, she realizes that speaking up is not always the recourse that will bring desired effects--after all, she is kept out of school for a year after her incident with her classmate.  Similarly, Moon Orchid chooses not to stand up to her husband because having him was not really worth it to her--why fight for a husband who does not want to be with you?

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The Woman Warrior

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