These questions encourage you to relate your own life to the story that
Kingston tells us in “No Name Woman.”
1. This cautionary tale is meant to persuade
to conform to her parents’ values. What is the argument behind the narrative
the mother tells? Does it make sense to you? What might be a contemporary
argument in a middle-class American family?
2. Were you ever put at an “outcast table” (para. 19)
or anything comparable in your house or school? Did you ever hear of such a
ritual? What did happen when you were punished? What kinds of things were you
punished for? Why do you think these specific things were chosen?
3. Is this also a tale about gender inequality? How does
suggest this? How are relations between men and women portrayed here?
talks a good deal about spirits and ghosts. How do they function in this essay?
Which parts of this piece seem true to you? Which seem fictional? Why does she
blend these elements together?
5. Sexual mores change over time and from country to
country. What specifically about the aunt’s context made her transgression so
severe? How would her “crime” be viewed in contemporary America? Why? What do you think an ideal response would be?
These questions are
found in Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers.
Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford.
New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000: 1034-35.
Assessment: Complete an essay or oral
presentation responding to a question. Remember to provide specific examples
(evidence) from “No Name Woman” and from your life