Title

Finding One’s Voice and Identity through Magical Realism in The Woman Warrior

Subject Area

Women and Gender Studies

Abstract

My presentation proposal involves analyzing The Woman Warrior: The Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston through a magical realism and feminist lens. Magical realism is where the supernatural and real worlds intersect, collide, and/or coexist (Zamora and Faris 1-11). Feminism stems from the need for women to gain equality and autonomy in a sexist world.

The Woman Warrior traces the author Maxine Hong Kingston’s autobiographical or semi-autobiographical account of her childhood in America. Ghosts in this novel not only point to supernatural spirits, but additionally to people that were not Chinese. So in Kingston’s world, some ghosts are Americanized, including her and her siblings, making them unassimilated to Chinese culture.

Drawing on the magically real heroic incidents in her mother's life as well as upon other women in her family and Chinese historical legends, Kingston literally finds her voice to overcome familial and cultural oppression by the American and Chinese ways of life. As a Chinese-American, she is stuck between her Chinese ancestry and American culture. Therefore, she takes the stories of Chinese women to create her own identity that blends and honors both cultures. No longer divided by two nations or “homes,” she receives a wonderful empowering home in the realm of magical realism.

Works Cited

Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: The Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. New York: Vintage, 1976. Print.

Zamora, Lois Parkinson and Wendy B. Faris. “Introduction.” Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris, eds. Durham:Duke UP, 1995. 1-11. Print.

Brief Bio Note

Dr. Devona Mallory is an Associate Professor of English at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. Her scholarly and teaching areas include Women's Literature/Gender Studies, Magical Realism, and Multi-Ethnic Literature. Some of her work has been included in New Essays on Phillis Wheatley and the Journal of Literary Arts and Sciences.

Keywords

Women’s literature, Autobiography, Semi-autobiography, Women’s studies, Gender studies, Magical realism, Ethnic literature, Asian American literature, Folklore, Feminism

Location

Room 218

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-26-2015 3:00 PM

End Date

3-26-2015 4:15 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 26th, 3:00 PM Mar 26th, 4:15 PM

Finding One’s Voice and Identity through Magical Realism in The Woman Warrior

Room 218

My presentation proposal involves analyzing The Woman Warrior: The Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston through a magical realism and feminist lens. Magical realism is where the supernatural and real worlds intersect, collide, and/or coexist (Zamora and Faris 1-11). Feminism stems from the need for women to gain equality and autonomy in a sexist world.

The Woman Warrior traces the author Maxine Hong Kingston’s autobiographical or semi-autobiographical account of her childhood in America. Ghosts in this novel not only point to supernatural spirits, but additionally to people that were not Chinese. So in Kingston’s world, some ghosts are Americanized, including her and her siblings, making them unassimilated to Chinese culture.

Drawing on the magically real heroic incidents in her mother's life as well as upon other women in her family and Chinese historical legends, Kingston literally finds her voice to overcome familial and cultural oppression by the American and Chinese ways of life. As a Chinese-American, she is stuck between her Chinese ancestry and American culture. Therefore, she takes the stories of Chinese women to create her own identity that blends and honors both cultures. No longer divided by two nations or “homes,” she receives a wonderful empowering home in the realm of magical realism.

Works Cited

Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: The Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. New York: Vintage, 1976. Print.

Zamora, Lois Parkinson and Wendy B. Faris. “Introduction.” Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris, eds. Durham:Duke UP, 1995. 1-11. Print.