Silence in "The Woman Warrior" Book Review

Silence in "The Woman Warrior"
An examination of Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts" and the idea of silence.
# 118313 | 6,317 words | 13 sources | MLA | 2009 | US
Published on Jan 21, 2010 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper examines the role which silence plays within a society that forgets individuals that cannot speak up for themselves. It focuses on Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts." The paper argues how Kingston struggles with her own silence and how she must learn to find her own voice and identity, so that she will not be forgotten like the others. The paper also shows how Kingston is a mirror image of her own mother, as both figures are responsible for breaking the silence of women but also oppress others in their lives.

From the Paper:

"The pen that she writes with can be seen as the sword that Fa Mu Lan uses to seek revenge; Kingston is getting revenge by breaking the silence with a pen and telling the world the hidden secrets of oppressed women. Brave Orchid can also be seen as breaking the silence for her husband's sister, when she makes the decision to tell her daughter about no-name woman's fate and what happened to her. It is clear that her husband does not want any mention of his sister, but Brave Orchid goes behind his back to tell Kingston who she was, even though her mother does not provide all the details to the story; instead Brave Orchid only tells Kingston the pieces that she needs to know, that if she embarrasses her family's name then she will be forgotten just like no-name woman."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cheung, King-Kok. "'Don't Tell:' Imposed Silences in The Color Purple and The Woman Warrior." PMLA. Volume 103, Number 2. (March 1988): 162-174.
  • Dickinson, Emily, and Thomas H. Johnson. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Boston [u.a.]: Little, Brown, 1992.
  • Homsher, Deborah. '"The Woman Warrior,' by Maxine Hong Kingston: A Bridging of Autobiography and Fiction." Iowa Review. Volume 10, Number 4. (Fall 1979): 93-98.
  • Huntley, E. D. Maxine Hong Kingston: A Critical Companion.Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 2001.
  • Jenkins, Ruth Y. "Authorizing Female Voice and Experience: Ghosts and Spirits in Kingston's The Woman Warrior and Allende's The House of the Spirits." MELUS. Volume 19, Number 3. (Autumn, 1994): 61-73.

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