Criticism of the title, "Woman Warrior" by Maxine Hong Kingston

Essay by omniromHigh School, 12th gradeB+, December 2006

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The first intriguing passage of this chapter was at the bottom of page 163 where Maxine states, "His version of the story may be better than mine because of its bareness, not twisted into designs. They can carry it tucked away without it taking up much room. Long ago in China, knot-makers tied string into buttons and frogs and rope into bell pulls. There was one knot so complicated that it blinded the knot-maker. Finally an emperor outlawed this cruel knot...I would have been an outlaw knot-maker (163)." This quotation implies that a knot is like a talk-story, twisted into different shapes and designs. The knotmaker, or rather, storyteller, is blinded by the intricacy of his or her knot/story, and thus, the emperor outlawed these complicated and false knots/stories. However, Maxine continues to be a knotmaker of complex yet inaccurate stories, telling the reader that The Woman Warrior is highly fictional.

Furthermore, another inaccuracy present in the book that shows the twisting of talk-story can be seen through Brave Orchid, who at the beginning of chapter three states that she had two children who die before Maxine was born. However, at the end of the chapter, Brave Orchid states that Maxine was her only child she has ever had. Additionally, the falsehood of these talk-stories can be seen through the conglomeration of Maxine and Brave Orchid's final tale of Ts'ai Yen. This story proves to be an assimilation of old and new, American and Chinese, fact and fiction.

It is quite saddening that after reading this entire book, one learns that most of it is made up from false accounts and information made up by the storyteller, Maxine Kingston. Especially so would be the tales of Brave Orchid, for the stories were twisted once after leaving her mouth, then...