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The Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior


by Maxine Hong Kingston

Analysis: Three Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Kingston's memoirs do not fit into the traditional three act plot. You could try to do it, and we invite you to, but for now, we'll just offer some reasons why we think the three act plot might limit your reading of what this book offers. The idea of the three act plot is that most stories can fit into three sections: one that introduces the given circumstances and presents a conflict, one that makes the problem even worse and more urgent, and one that resolves the problem and ties up any loose edges. But as you may have noticed, Kingston's memoirs are divided into five sections, and there is no one problem or one resolution. Her story is not only "literature" but also Kingston's life story. This doesn't necessarily mean that her story is all over the place and incoherent and random, but it does mean that it would be limiting to frame this complicated book into somewhat arbitrary three sections.

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