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Interpretation of Maxine Hong Kingston’s the Woman Warrior from an Ethical Literary Perspective

Author: JiangYongCong
Tutor: TangMeiXiu
School: Changsha University of Science and Technology
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: The Woman Warrior Ethical Literary Criticism Images Relationship Harmony
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Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 107
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Abstract


Maxine Hong Kingston (1940--) published her first novel the Woman Warrior: Memoirs of A Girlhood among Ghosts in 1976, and soon strongly stirred the American literature, and up to today, she still holds a firm position in American literature. Maxine Hong Kingston, characterized with double identities of immigrants’posterity and American modern woman, depicts one and another literary image vividly for the readers with her unique visions and originality. In this memoir, fact and fiction, fantasy and reality, personal introspection and the stories of other people freely interweave. The prominent influence of Kingston’s first novel arouses wide-spread attention of the critics. Critics and scholars from both home and abroad interpret her memoir from various perspectives, such as feminism, orientalism, dialogue theory, post-colonism, myth archetype and etc, but very few researchers or critics apply the approach of ethical literary criticism to analyze the Woman Warrior.As an author full of social responsibilities, Maxine Hong Kingston confers on her novel plentiful ethical connotations; she integrates her ethical ideas with the social criticism, deeply exposes feudal ethical code, patriarchal society, and the discrimination and taboo of the feudal ethical code upon women, she appeals to get rid of androcentric society, evokes the eager for equality between men and women, encourages women to embrace self-esteem,self-love, self-support and self-renewal, she contributes greatly for the feminist movement and female’s awakening.The author explores the ethical questions connotated in the Woman Warrior from the perspective of ethical literary criticism on the basis of close-reading and detailed analysis of woman and man images. Ethical literary criticism is an approach to literary criticism developed on the basis of the introduction of ethical methods and the assimilation of them into the texture of literary critical methods. It is used not only to interpret the moral phenomena recorded in literature on a historical and dialectic basis, but also to make value judgment of those in the present literature based on the moral values in the reality. In the practice of The Woman Warrior, the author principally analyzes the literary texts from three aspects, namely human and society, human and nature, human and self and offers a rounded analysis of Kingston’s ethical ideas, and the balance she strives to seek between social criticism and ethical culture.Kingston’s ethical ideas and social responsibility encourages people to change the unbalanced ethical order and reconstruct the ethics values. Maxine Hong Kingston hopes that people, particularly women, would fight against feudal system, patriarchal society, unharmonious relation between man and nature, and self-loss in the hope of retrieve one’s value and acquire real harmony, liberty and equality.

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