Blog #15: Response to Woman Warrior at 30- Mix, mix, and mix!

November 24, 2008

Woman Warrior is an interesting book since the book has a writing style that destroys Western literature’s emphasis on the distintinction between reality and fantasy a.k.a interpretation. But even this is too generalized to say about Maxine Hong Kingston’s writing style. Reality is pretty much down to earth: reality is something that can be regarded as “facts” or “evidence” such as names, place, or numbers. However, I think Maxine Hong Kingston does something more while effectively integrating reality and “fantasy.” She integrates different kinds of “fantasy” such as intepretation, autobiography, investigation, and narrative. Therefore, I can understand why the author of Woman Warrior at 30 acknowledges that

it is a book without a genre

In fact I agree with the author of the blog post that Woman Warrior integrates these different genres very simply that even the readers cannot distinguish which is which. One moment I was reading a fact and suddenly I was reading “fantasy.”

But also I have to agree with different critics such as the report from Dartmouth college that Woman Warrior tried too many things at once. Chapter One of Woman Warrior started out nicely by showing Maxine Hong Kingston weaving facts and her narrative and interpretation together. However, as the plot got more “audacious” as the Woman Warrior at 30 said, she put in too much genre. For example, in “White Tigers” she was giving the fact version of Fa Mu Lan and her interpretation of what Fa Mu Lan might have thought and t hen she gives her intrepretation of the story and the she also gives interpretation of others actions and beliefs. Then she ends the book with her interpretation of her own actions. But this gets worse in Chapter 3 “Shaman” when she suddenly throws in different myths about Chinese big eaters and story about her mother’s back-breaking labor and more interpretation from Kingston.

Despite this argument though, I found “White Tigers” very interesting: even more than “No Name Woman” and “Shaman.” This was because I was able to understand what Kingston was trying to do when she said

I made my mind large, so it would have room for paradoxes

according to Woman Warrior at 30. In fact, I was able to see what she was doing in “White Tigers” when said this because I knew what she was going to do: invent paradoxes. Thus I figured it was pointless to spend 10 minutes each paragraph figuring what if the content was factual or made-up.

 

Maxine Hong Kingston's geniusness

Maxine Hong Kingston

 

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