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MonkeyNotes-The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
Table of Contents

Themes

Major Theme

The major theme of the memoirs is that Chinese women can rise
above the inferior position dictated by their heritage without
abandoning all cultural ties. Kingston often gains Chinese
knowledge from her mother who assumes that Kingston's stance
in relation to eastern culture should be submissive and
subordinate. Kingston finds ways to take her cultural heritage
and actively shape it to fit with her American reality. Instead of
receiving the knowledge of her cultural past passively, Kingston
questions it, amplifies it, selectively uses only beneficial
portions of it, and in general, views it with American eyes.
Dominant in this cultural heritage is the ideology of women's
inferiority. In each section, Kingston finds ways to imagine
women differently than inferior and passive to that fate, while
refusing to totally abandon her Chinese heritage.

Minor Theme

The minor theme of The Woman Warrior is that a blending of
two cultures is possible and is developed in the book through
Kingston's evolving relationship with her mother, Brave Orchid.
Brave Orchid drives Kingston to distraction with her non-
Western thinking and her overbearing treatment of her family.
As a result, Kingston goes through a process in which she
moves from a total repudiation of her mother to an ultimate
reconciliation with her, a reconciliation that allows Kingston to
blend her own Western thinking with her rich Chinese heritage.
This blending enhances her writing and proves that a person can
richly exist within the framework of two cultures.

Table of Contents



Mood

The mood of the memoirs is meditative and speculative.
Kingston works in most of the sections in an improvisational
narrative mode. She does not come across as an authoritative
guide to Chinese culture for her American readers. Instead, she
recognizes and struggles with her own puzzlement over her
Chinese heritage and the conflicts it reaches when it encounters
American reality.

Table of Contents
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MonkeyNotes-The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
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