Term Paper

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Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior is one of the most popular books, has won many accolades, including many awards, and has changed literature and society extensively. Prizes that she has earned include the Living Treasure of Hawaii award in 1980, the1976 National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, the Mademoiselle Magazine Award in 1977, the Anisfield-Wolf Race Relations Award in 1978.

This paper will discuss the recurring theme of ghosts and feminism in the book especially in the second and third chapters. The second chapter is called White Tigers, which is the story of Fa Mu Lan, the famous Chinese swordswoman who was taken away as a child to be skilled as a warrior before returning home to take her father’s place in battle and leading an army to conquest. The third chapter is called Shaman, which is the story of the life of Kingston’s mother, in both China and America. A representation of that frustrating ambivalence we feel toward family, which is both uplifting and mortifying, wanting to both cling to the native heritage and yet moving away from it.

The ghosts are somehow linked to her relationship with her mother the most remarkable part of this autobiography, however, comes in “talk-story” of Kingston’s mother’s. The older woman is incessantly telling stories from the Old World and bringing Chinese folklore into her life in America. Consequently, she is perpetually sighting ghosts: newspaper boy ghosts, taxi ghosts, government ghosts, etc. As a child, she looks as if alternately fascinated by her mother’s stories and embarrassed by her unawareness and concrete ties to the traditions of her predecessor.

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