The Woman Warrior and The Interesting Narrative Essay

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The Woman Warrior and The Interesting Narrative

In both The Woman Warrior and The Interesting Narrative, the authors inspect the issue of one’s cultural identity by way of the telling of their own story, and how it has affected them. By telling their stories as persons who have emerged themselves into a new culture, but at the same retained vestiges of the old, Olaudah Equiano and Maxine Kingston are exemplifying a duality in cultural identity, that is often times lost.

Before continuing, though, it is important to clarify the definition of “cultural identity,” at least for this paper. One’s cultural identity is the way one sees oneself in terms of the cultures and societies that they have come from. This
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This personal connection to the “native” culture is an important part to any cultural identity, because it provides a means of introspection, an ability to determine one’s perception of oneself. The ability to perceive oneself is important because it permits one to look at and choose to discard or retain parts of one’s various cultures into one’s personal cultural identity.

However, in other aspects, Equiano is able to better explore portions of his cultural identity, because he has made a direct personal connection to the culture. In this case, it is the slave culture that he was forced into. Because of the intense experiences he has within this culture, it plays a large role in his cultural identity. These experiences include his numerous journeys on his masters’ ships, which combined with his religious explorations at the time led him to desire to become an Englishman. At the same time, they allowed him to create a broader identity, because he saw the connections between himself and other cultures (such as Turkish and Jewish cultures of the time.)

The second crucial factor in determining the cultural identity, and is shown in The Interesting Narrative, is the time that one is exposed to a culture. It is not difficult to determine that in Equiano it appears his native culture had little direct impact on him. In the narrative, he makes little to no mention of his home, his native country, or anything related to them. This
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