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Red Roses Slide
Unit 7 Maxine Hong Kingston 汤亭亭
Brief introduction to:
I. Maxine Hong Kingston
II. The Woman Warrior
“My subconscious is Chinese, isn’t that weird? At night in my dreams I speak to Earll in Chinese.”
Being Chinese-American often means that one is torn between both worlds without really being part of either.
Maxine Hong Kingston, (born Oct. 27, 1940, Stockton, Calif., U.S.), American writer, much of whose work is rooted in her experience as a first-generation Chinese American.
Features Reflecting on her cultural heritage; Blending fiction with nonfiction; Gender and racial barriers;
Maxine Hong was the eldest of six American-born children of Chinese immigrant parents. Hong’s father, a scholar, had left China in 1924 and immigrated to New York City; unable to find work as a poet or calligrapher, he took a job in a laundry. Hong’s mother had remained behind in China and joined him in the United States in 1939.
Hong attended the University of California, Berkeley, as a scholarship student, graduating in 1962.
At Berkeley she met aspiring actor Earll Kingston. They were married in November 1962 and had a son in 1964. The couple taught at Sunset High School in 1966–67 in Hayward, California, then moved to Hawaii, where she held a series of teaching jobs for the next 10 years.
Works: The Woman Warrior (1976) China Men (1980) Tripmaster Monkey (1989) To Be the Poet (2002) The Fifth Book of Peace (2003)
Works & Awards: The Woman Warrior (1976)《女勇士》 The National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction 全国书评界非小说奖 China Men (1980)《中国佬》 the 1981 National Book Award 国家图书奖
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts 一个生活在群鬼中间的女孩的童年回忆
A non-fictional memoir Semi-autobiographical, incorporating many elements of fiction Explore ethnicity and gender roles, especially in the context of her experience as a Chinese-American woman
Plot Summary Five interconnected stories: No Name Woman White Tigers Shaman At the Western Palace A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe
The first story No Name Woman《无名女子》 Kingston’s narrator describes the suicide of her aunt, as told by her mother, after she gave birth to an illegitimate child. The narrator is warned to never again speak of her unnamed aunt, but still creates a history for her in her memoir.
“我将要告诉你的话，你千万不能对任何人说，”母亲 说道，“你父亲在中国有个妹妹，她自杀了，是投井自 尽的。人家都说你父亲只有兄弟，没有妹妹，似乎她从 无未来到过这个世界。”
“有这么一个男人命令她和他睡觉，做他的秘密情妇 ……她服从了他的意志，就像她一如既往顺从别人一 样。那个男人和她丈夫毕竟毫无区别，都习惯于下命 令。她只能服从。”
The second story White Tigers《白虎山学道》 A fantastic allegory to describe her childhood
Imagine herself as a version of the legendary Chinese woman warrior, Fa Mulan.
The second story Mulan, having learned the warrior’s arts from an elderly couple who are hundreds of years old, raises an army and overthrows the corrupt government.
After her battles, Mulan takes up the traditional woman’s roles of mother and wife.
The third story Shaman 《乡村医生》 The author describes his mother’s experience in Chinese medical school. Mixing fantasy and autobiography, she details her mother’s physical and mental battles with spirits and ghosts.
The fourth Story At the Western Palace 《西宫门外》 She describes her aunt Moon Orchid’s mental breakdown after she emigrates to the United States from China in order to find her estranged husband.
“我在这里真快乐。没有人想要离开。这不是很好吗？我 们这里全是女的……我在这儿相互之间都很了解，说同样 的语言，完全一样。她们了解我，我也了解她们。”
The fifth story A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe 《羌笛野曲》
The fifth story
She describes her childhood experiences in the California public school system, and her parents’ attitudes toward her. She closes the book with a reinterpretation of the story of early third century Chinese poet Ts’ai Yen, who, like the narrator, had to learn to sing in a foreign tongue.
In this part, she actually shows some fighting spirit against herself in a vitriolic outburst against her mother. As much as Kingston might want to be a fierce warrior, she knows that her true power is in her word and song.
Assignments: Questions: 1.What are the different attitudes towards the wrong drug delivery concerning the druggist, mother and “I”? Why did I not speak louder or just keep silent outside the family?