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An Archetypal Analysis of The Woman Warrior

Author: SunLing
Tutor: ZhangLi
School: North China Electric Power University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Maxine The Woman Warrior archetype
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 64
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Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, published in 1976, has aroused great interest of study. As a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction in American literature, the book is worthy of constant research. This novel has been analyzed from such perspectives as racial critics, feminism, and post-modernism.This thesis, with the aid of archetypal theory, lists great details of archetypes, including the figures, symbolic meaning, motif myth and structural significance. It is composed of six chapters. The first chapter introduces Maxine Hong Kingston and her books, general ideas of archetypal approach, literature review and significance of this thesis. The second chapter discusses the character archetypes in the book, such as the no-name woman, Brave Orchid, the village crazy lady and Kingston herself. No-name woman not only stands for Philomela but also stands for Hester Prynne; Brave Orchid is an epitome of Fa Mulan and Ts’ai Yen; the village crazy lady’s story corresponds with the story of Scapegoat in Holy Bible. Chapter three gives an analysis on the symbolic meaning that can be found in the masterpiece. The old man and the old woman symbolize wisdom and equality; circles stand for family unity and culture integration; the black color represents authority and mystery; bird is a token of hope and death; mountain is an emblem of dragon and safety; ghost stands for different things in Chinese culture and in American culture. Chapter four explores motif archetypes which includes mother archetype and quest myth. Mother archetype is reflected by no-name woman and Brave Orchid; quest myth shows Kingston’s pursuit for identity. Chapter five analyzes the structural significance by applying Frey’s season patterns. This chapter demonstrates the close relationship between the novel’s structure and Kingston’s writing purpose. The last chapter is conclusion.In fact, this novel is a record of Maxine’s spiritual growth. By recreating Chinese folks and telling stories, Maxine conveys her firm belief of the searching for her identity as a Chinese-born American. The book is also a transcendence of particular bitter experience of a woman into universal experience of all Chinese-Americans.

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