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On Mother-Daughter Relationship In The Women Warrior

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On Mother-daughter relationship in The Woman Warrior

1 Brief introduction of Chinese-American literature in

United States(the special focus on mother-daughter relationship in the Chinese-American women writings)

From the nineteenth century, Chinese-American literature has been discriminated by the American literature canon. Most early Chinese American works tended to cater for the taste of the white readership. The situation changed till the later half of the twentieth century when the Civil Rights Movement took place in the United States, during which more Chinese writers emerged on the literary stage and the mainstream of American society began to pay more attention to the Chinese-American literature. The 1980s and 1990s saw flowering of Chinese-American literature, there have been so many works by Chinese-American writers that American literary criticism has come to recognize ÐŽoAsian literatureÐŽ± as a separate genre, of which Chinese-American literature is a most important part. While, the contemporary Chinese-American writers focused on races and cultural identity all the time, and a notable feature of more contemporary Chinese American womenЎЇs writing is an emphasis upon mother-daughter relationship. We will have a look on the meaning of this phenomenon.

Cultural confrontation and reconciliation is always a major concern of the Chinese American writers who live between two worlds. Standing on the interface of the two cultures, Kinston, one of the representatives of those Chinese American writers, adopts the Chinese tradition of talk story and two generations" experiences in America, and presents readers with the between-world situation in The Woman Warrior. Through her representative work-The Woman Warrior, Kinston explores the Chinese American experience, their cultural identity, and the mother-daughter relationship in different cultural context. Although the conflicts are inevitable between two cultural worlds, with mutual communication and understanding, cultural reconciliation is reached, and eventually a balance in the between-world condition is achieved. Through the approach of textual analysis and cultural reading, this thesis intends to provide a way of appreciating Kinston"s novel, and eventually to help readers understand the conflicts and reconciliation of two cultural worlds.

2 Analysis of the relationship between mother Bell and daughter Ruby in details

2.1 Analysis of the relationship between mother and daughter in details

The arts are used to address both aesthetic and serious societal issues such as Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior, the story of a woman's struggle with identity as a minority in American culture.

The Woman Warrior was written by Maxine Hong Kingston and published by Vintage Books in 1975. It is semi-autobiographical, incorporating many elements of fiction. In any case, her work stands as an example of postmodernism in American Literature, demonstrated by the fact that although it lacks any kind of continuous storyline, one can still find it interesting.

Through this novel, Kingston explores ethnicity and gender roles, especially in the context of her experience as a Chinese-American woman. The book is divided into five chapters: "No Name Woman"; "White Tigers"; "Shaman"; "At the Western Palace"; and "A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe." In "No Name Woman" Kingston describes the suicide of her aunt after she gave birth to an illegitimate child. In "White Tigers" she creates a fantastic allegory in which she describes her childhood. She imagines herself as legendary Chinese woman warrior, Fa Mulan. In "Shaman" she describes her mother's experience in Chinese medical school. She mixes fantasy and autobiography, detailing her mother's physical and mental battles with spirits and ghosts. In "At the Western Palace" she describes her aunt Moon Orchid's mental breakdown after she emigrates to the United States from China. Finally in "A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe" she describes her childhood experiences in the California public school system, and her parents' attitudes toward her.

The Woman Warrior has been reported by the Modern Language Association as the most commonly taught text in modern university education, used in disciplines that include American literature, anthropology, Asian studies, composition, education, psychology, sociology, and women's studies. Though widely praised by critics, including winning the 1976 National Book Critics Circle Award, the book has been criticized by fellow Chinese American author Frank Chin as perpetuating racist stereotypes.

The thesis falls into four chapters. Chapter One offers an overall view of the novel, introducing the main idea of The Women warrior. Chapter Two focuses on analyzing the relationship between mother Bell and daughter Ruby in details in this novel. In this chapter, a brief introduction of Chinese-American literature in United States will be first given. Then further exploration of mother]s and daughterЎЇs bond and RubyЎЇs special lesbian love toward her mother Bell will be outlines by analysis as well as examples. In addition, since mutual understanding between mothers and daughters could not be reached, some basic reasons of their misunderstandings will also be offered. Chapter Three will explore the mother-daughter relationship much deeper than the former chapter and try to find the reasons accounting for RubyЎЇs failure of rescuing her mother. It deals with the layer of silence imposed on Chinese American women. This chapter is designed to show the fact that these mothers and daughters represent Chinese and American cultures respectively. It is the symbol of the waking up of her Chinese ethnic consciousness, and reminds us of the must to construct female Chinese-American subjectivity. Their misunderstandings actually represent the difference between two cultures while their harmony symbolizes the blending of two cultures. Finally, Chapter Four serves as the conclusion of this thesis. A summary of the thesis as well as the right attitude toward a different culture will be stated in this chapter.

Maxine Hong Kingston's autobiography, The Woman Warrior, features a young Chinese-American constantly searching for "an unusual bird" that would serve as her impeccable guide on her quest for individuality. Instead of the flawless guide she seeks, Kingston develops under the influence of other teachers who either seem more fallible or less realistic. Dependent upon their guidance, she grows under the influence of American and



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