The Woman Warrior at age 30

December 11, 2008

In this article on slate.com, the author objectively analyzes The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. When he states that The Woman Warrior is a book without a genre, I completely agree. First of all, even authors have trouble sorting this out. In one version of the book, it is labeled as a fiction book. However, in a different woman-warriorversion of the book with the same exact text, it is labeled as a non-fiction book. So this raises the question of, “Which genre does The Woman Warrior belong in”? This book is described as a memoir, autobiography, novel, manifesto, and etc. I think that the book should be characterized as a non-fiction book. The main argument against the book being labeled non fiction is that Kingston tells the story of her aunt based on her imaginations and overexaggerating the “ghosts” they see when the family lives in the United States. However, this story of Maxine Hong Kingston is a book written from what she experiences and it is a fact that she imagined those situations about her aunt and none of them were lies on the part of Kingston. She said the truth of what she thought and imagined. Also, the term “ghosts” is symbolically used to represent the people in America, not literal ghosts floating on the ground. So from my point of view, I think this book should be represented as a non-fiction book.

In the first chapter of the Woman Warrior, it started off in a 3rd person point of view. The story was real vague because the narrator, who is Kingston herself, does not know the story of her aunt. Then all of a sudden in chapter 2, the point of view becomes 1st person point of view. I thought this was important to point out because in the first chapter, Kingston has no validation that her imaginations about her aunt was true so she many different situations pictured in her mind. Also, like I said in the first paragraph, this book is hard to classify which genre this belonged in.

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