The Woman Warrior And The Interesting Narrative

1607 words - 6 pages

The Woman Warrior and The Interesting Narrative

In both The Woman Warrior and The Interesting Narrative, the authors inspect the issue of one’s cultural identity by way of the telling of their own story, and how it has affected them. By telling their stories as persons who have emerged themselves into a new culture, but at the same retained vestiges of the old, Olaudah Equiano and Maxine Kingston are exemplifying a duality in cultural identity, that is often times lost.

Before continuing, though, it is important to clarify the definition of “cultural identity,” at least for this paper. One’s cultural identity is the way one sees oneself in terms of the cultures and societies that they have come from. This perception is influenced by many factors, including the experiences within the cultures, either personal or passed on, the time exposed to the culture, and personal choice. These factors combine to determine how one views one’s own culture. It is important to realize that there is also a societal cultural identity. This different identity, which cannot be fully explored in either The Interesting Narrative or The Woman Warrior, is the way in which a society views itself, and other societies view it. The two narrators are not able to explore this separate identity because they only represent one view within their respective cultures, not the sum, and thus not the cultural identity.

Contributing to this cultural identity has been experiences in both their new and their old cultures. For someone such as Equiano, who was removed from his native culture at an early age without having made a significant personal connection, this makes up a less significant part of their cultural identity than for Kingston, who has the benefit of having her mother as a connection to her “original” culture. This personal connection to the “native” culture is an important part to any cultural identity, because it provides a means of introspection, an ability to determine one’s perception of oneself. The ability to perceive oneself is important because it permits one to look at and choose to discard or retain parts of one’s various cultures into one’s personal cultural identity.

However, in other aspects, Equiano is able to better explore portions of his cultural identity, because he has made a direct personal connection to the culture. In this case, it is the slave culture that he was forced into. Because of the intense experiences he has within this culture, it plays a large role in his cultural identity. These experiences include his numerous journeys on his masters’ ships, which combined with his religious explorations at the time led him to desire to become an Englishman. At the same time, they allowed him to create a broader identity, because he saw the connections between himself and other cultures (such as Turkish and Jewish cultures of the time.)

The second crucial factor in...

Find Another Essay On The Woman Warrior and The Interesting Narrative

Mulan as the Woman Warrior Essay

1540 words - 6 pages Mulan as the Woman Warrior Many movies have gotten their theme or content from books and novels. One of them being the story of Mulan, which originates from the story of a Chinese girl who grows into a women warrior. In my reading of " The Woman Warrior", there is a tale of a warrior who has the name Fa Mu Lan. The mother tells the story of Fa Mu Lan to her children , one child stating " Instantly, I remembered that as a

The Woman Warrior Literary Analysis

806 words - 4 pages When one thinks of a hero, what comes to mind? Is that hero tall, muscular, handsome, and noble? The image of a small Chinese woman typically does not come to mind, but as Thomas Foster says in How To Read Literature Like A Professor, in literature, anything is possible. In The Woman Warrior, Brave Orchid, who is the narrator’s mother, goes on to practice medicine, deliver infants, guide others in the right direction, and strive to be the

The Interesting Narrative Life of Olaudah Equiano and Amistad

602 words - 2 pages       CoMpArE and CoNtRaSt      Both, “The Interesting Narrative Life of Olaudah Equiano” and “Amistad” are important stories about slavery in pre-civil war america because they both address the issues of slavery. These gentlemen in the story made a difference in the slave trade. In “The life of Olaudah Equiano”, Olaudah was sold on a slave ship that came to the Barbados. Olaudah worked for his

Comparing Femininity in The Woman Warrior and King Lear

2645 words - 11 pages Femininity in The Woman Warrior and King Lear         What is femininity? What role should women play in society? These are questions that humanity has faced ever since the first hunter-gatherer tribes developed. Gender roles, at least in the popular imagination, were clear; the men hunted for big game, the women picked nuts and berries. There were clear reasons for this - hunting required the brute muscular strength of the male, while

The Ghosts of The Woman Warrior

911 words - 4 pages The Ghosts of The Woman Warrior   In Maxine Hong Kingston's novel, The Woman Warrior, Kingston touches upon several aspects of life common to all. Her experiences as a child were illustrated through this book. People not of the Chinese culture were seen as ghosts in this child's world. The similarities between Kingston's childhood, and the reader's help make this novel universally readable. The images created by Kinston, and the

The Woman Warrior: A Tale of Identity

2299 words - 9 pages American realities and embracing her female identity. To do so Kingston does not approach it by the telling of her repressive reality or her resistance of it but by finding her identity through a narrative merge of fantasy and reality. She tells of a myth in the section “White Tigers” of a woman warrior, Fa Mu Lan. Fa Mu Lan was a legendary Chinese woman who replaced her father in battle and led armies through bravery and strength. Etched on her

Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior

1949 words - 8 pages Kingston, an actor (voices.cla.umn.edu). Kingston earned a teaching certificate in California and taught high school there for a year. In 1967 the Kingston's moved to Hawaii where she taught over the next ten years.In 1976 while teaching at a private high school in Hawaii, she published her first book The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts; it became a big success. This book combined autobiography and fiction to tell the story of a

Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior

2620 words - 10 pages Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston's novel, The Woman Warrior is a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories that chronicles her childhood in California. It gives the reader a feeling of how it feels like to be a Chinese American girl growing up with

“No Name Woman” Maxine Kingston's memoir, The Woman Warrior describes

1306 words - 5 pages ?No Name Woman? Maxine Kingston's memoir, The Woman Warrior describes the struggles of a Chinese-American woman growing up as she attempts to find a balance between two cultures and to find her own identity within them. Kingston's novel abounds with imagery, from the ghosts and barbarians, to the different colors (black, white, and red). Every character is introduced in a way to clarify Kingston's motives for writing. Through her stories, she

"Woman Warrior" - Analysis of the "No Name Woman"

700 words - 3 pages " 'You must not tell anyone,' my mother said, 'what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born.' (3)"Right from the beginning of "The Woman Warrior", Maxine Kingston grasps the reader's attention and places them in the climax of the chapter, leaving character development and other devices for

Comparing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauda Equiano and The Death of My Father

862 words - 3 pages Comparing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauda Equiano and Wiesel’s The Death of My Father  This essay will focus on the two works, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olauda Equiano by Olauda Equiano and "The Death of My Father" by Elie Wiesel. Although these works are quite different, at the same time they are sadly similar. Both works have value to me as they describe events that have historical significance. Their

Similar Essays

The Woman Warrior Essay

919 words - 4 pages Throughout Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir, The Woman Warrior, physical and emotional struggles in Chinese women’s lifestyle are exhibited . Each of the five chapters display a story of a woman who has had an influence on her present day life. The struggle is focused on Chinese women and how they redefine the stereotype of them being lesser than men. Beginning in the first chapter, Kingston uses the story of her Aunt who went against her village

"The Woman Warrior" Essay

1042 words - 4 pages "The Woman Warrior" is a story about Maxine Hong Kingston's memoir, who is trying to blend and develop two different cultures into one. The story explains how immigrants have hard times and difficulties when they move to a new country. The setting of Women Warrior tells a life of Maxine Hong Kingston as a second-generation Chinese- American girl. She realizes that she must combine Chinese langue, culture, and family tradition with American

The Warrior Woman Essay

1223 words - 5 pages Mental illness is attributed to people who are not in touch with reality or the world around them, where in contrast, strong minded women are thought to be courageous in their stance to stand firm and follow their beliefs. The chapter in Mary Kingston’s novel, The Warrior Woman, contains a chapter named “The Western Palace”, which depicts a character that can be described as possessing either characteristic. Brave Orchid takes a stance that

Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative Essay

1679 words - 7 pages Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative Olaudah Equiano, a native of the African province Eboe and author of The Interesting Narrative experienced the cruel and inhumane life of a slave. From the age of eleven, when he was kidnapped by slave traders, until he reached the age of 21 he was subjected to a lifestyle so harsh that he often saw death as an attractive alternative. Many of his countrymen, who existed in the same, if not a worse