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The Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior

by Maxine Hong Kingston

Literature and Writing Theme

Maxine Hong Kingston opens The Woman Warrior with a story told to her. As we quickly see, this opening sets the tone for the rest of the memoirs, which are largely Kingston's versions of stories told to her. We begin to see how Kingston's sense of self identity is blurred by fantasy. Through her stories we see that reality is always contingent upon how supposed facts are interpreted. It becomes interesting on a meta-narrative level that Kingston the author is writing these stories in a book to publish for the public; what is she trying to share through writing?

Questions About Literature and Writing

  1. For whose benefit is Kingston telling these stories?
  2. What does writing allow that speaking does not? Why is it significant that The Woman Warrior is a print book?
  3. What is the relationship between storytelling and living?
  4. What is the effect of calling The Woman Warrior a set of memoirs?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Whether or not the events in The Woman Warrior are based in truth, Kingston's book is a collection of memoirs that pushes the boundaries of autobiography by incorporating fantasy.

Rather than representing her life, The Woman Warrior produces a life story for Maxine Hong Kingston.

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