Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Words on One's Back

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Kingston writes that her parents use knives to write her family into her back before she goes to war. This way, her body is a literal tablet on which the family is represented. Kingston writes that "swordswoman and [she] are not so dissimilar" because they both have words on their backs (2.189). Their form of vengeance for injustices against their families is not necessarily in any hand-to-hand combat, but in the reporting of the stories. In this way, The Woman Warrior is a collection of the words on Kingston's back, trying to do some good by her family and by herself.

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