24 October 2012
Reality vs. Fantasy: Kingston’s use of Juxtaposition in The Woman Warrior
In The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston writes an honest memoir that focuses in on the lives of five woman; the most important being Kingston, and is told in 5 chapters. As a reader, we get a glimpse into the realities of life for many Chinese emigrants in America and their children. Kingston, who is the narrator in the book, creates an elaborate fantasy in the second chapter, called “White Tigers”. In it, Kingston portrays a strong warrior woman, who leads her army to victory by overthrowing the emperor at his palace. In reality, she was in America, struggling to get noticed by the unfamiliar people surrounding her.This section of the book bares great importance because it shows the authors use of juxtaposition on the girls reality and a fantasy world she wishes to be in. Readers feel sympathy that she can’t reach her goal of becoming a warrior, but must be stuck in an unfamiliar country where she is ignored and made fun of.
Life in America was not all it was cracked up to be. Kingston learned this pretty quick. Since she was of chinese dissent, she had a very slim chance of ever becoming anything big, maybe an owner of a laundromat, but that’s it. Men would be especially difficult for Kingston to get the hang of as well. She tried to look feminine and be sweet but nothing worked. At school she wasn’t respected. At work she wasn’t respected. While working at an art store, her boss was telling her to order more of a certain type of yellow and he used the “N” word to describe it. She says, “‘I don’t like that word,’ I had to say in my bad, small persons voice that makes no impact. The boss never deigned to answer”(Kingston 48). In America, Kingston is especially down on herself and winey: “Nobody supports me at the expense of his own adventure. Then I get bitter: no one supports me; I am not loved enough to be...