Post #15: Response to “The Woman Warrior at 30″

An excerpt from The Woman Warrior at 30″ by Jess Row:

…the most remarkable, and often overlooked, quality of The Woman Warrior is that it is a book without a genre. At various times it has been described as a memoir, an autobiography, a novel, a manifesto; yet anyone who spends 10 minutes with it understands that none of these labels really apply. Not because Kingston sets out to exaggerate the “facts” of her own experience, à la James Frey, but because she deliberately acknowledges that to write autobiography is to stand at the borderline between memory and invention. Like the “ghosts” in its subtitle (the word refers to the white Americans around whom Kingston grew up in Sacramento),The Woman Warrior stubbornly refuses to be either entirely fictive or entirely real. Perhaps the second most remarkable thing about the book is that in its wake, the American literary world still seems to regard the tissue-thin boundary between memoir and fiction as absolute and inviolable.


From the first two chapters of the novel,  The Woman Warrior, it is evident that the writing style of Kingston is peculiar. As stated above, “it has been described as a memoir, an autobiography, a novel, a manifesto.” Throughout the first two chapters, Kingston switches from telling readers about her own experience, making up stories, and speculating things. The writing sometimes is fictional but sometimes nonfictional. 

Despite the fact that the writing style changes throughout the first two chapters, Kingston successfully gets her messages across to her readers about the Chinese culture. For example, she tells the readers that girls are unwanted through her speculations in the first chapter and also through the description of the Chinese emigrants in America.  

In a way, though, this writing style makes it more confusing for readers to catch up and follow what goes on in the story; however, each and everyone of these writing styles are interesting. 


Woman Warrior

Woman Warrior


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