AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

The Liquid Nature of Self in Maxine Kingston’s Autobiographical Story The Woman Warrior

by Evelyn Jablonski

Institution: Cleveland State University
Department: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Degree: MAin English
Year: 2015
Keywords: Literature; Modern Literature; Asian American Studies
Record ID: 2060689
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=csu1429542991


This work examines the notion of self in the autobiographical narrative of Maxine Hong Kingston. Self-writing is constructing a discursive body, and Kingston presents the reader with a unique articulation of her identity. Conventional autobiographical narratives tend to define a self as an opposition to the other. In such texts the literary discourse is intended to secure the integrity of the self. This image of the self can be called conventional. While the conventional narrative self claims to demonstrate developmental stages of an individual that acquires his or her maturity by the end of the quest, the constantly changing self of Maxine Hong Kingston is never finished. Narrating such an ever-growing self, results in a textual presentation of infinite potentiality. A classical autobiographical self would be immune from outer influences, while Kingston’s autobiographical persona is open to all narrative directions and so can be viewed as a “liquid” narrative body, capable of flowing and spreading. Her major narrator for that purpose shares common elements with her entire group of characters. My aim in this work is to show how Kingston depicts her characters as the “liquid narrative self.”