Reflection Of The Woman Warrior

1944 Words8 Pages
In 1976 Maxine Hong Kingston won the National Book Critics Circle Award for the best work of non-fiction for her book The Woman Warrior: Memories of a Girlhood among Ghosts, a novel built up from a collection of stories that draw on from Chinese folklore and myth intertwined with her own life’s experiences and episodes from her and other female family members’ life. While labelled as an autobiography, American readers enthusiastically welcomed it as work of fiction that deals with the exotic, mysterious and unfathomable China. This illustrates the why and wherefores of the many readings that this work has originated since its publication. The lack of adherence to one genre, especially autobiography, presents one of the central issues of how…show more content…
Here the key role of “talk-story” comes to scene, an oral-narrative serving a specific purpose with which Brave Orchid, Maxine Hong Kingston’s mother, teaches her the traditions and culture of China that are to define her position in life, even though in American soil. In The Woman Warrior, this storytelling begins at the time of Kingston’s menarche with a cautionary account, “whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one, a story to grow up on” (Kingston 9), about the dangers of disregarding the unwritten cultural norms that are invested upon Asian…show more content…
Turning to Jung, one finds that myths are shared by all members of a community and by extension, all humankind, although their true meaning can only be attained within the individual psyche, their workings are strictly personal, being instrumental in the eternal quest towards self-realization. Under this point of view, the reinterpretation of the Chinese folktales signifies to Kingston the construction not only of her own speech but also of the structure for understanding her Chinese American identity; in Kingston’s words: “myth have to change, be useful or forgotten. Like people who carry them across oceans, myths become American…. I take the power I need from whatever myth” (quoted in Grice,
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