Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior presents the struggles of a Chinese-American woman growing up as she attempts to reconcile two cultures, a female
devaluing Chinese culture and influences by an American culture, while developing her own identity as a Chinese-American. Using William R. Schroeder's model of interpretation will help to define the struggles and complications experienced by Kingston as relevant to my interpretation.
Schroeder's model of interpretation presents eight interpretive elements: explicit statements, imagery, narrative point of view, plot/action, characters, notable effects, horizons, and world. The most important interpretive elements used in my interpretation were imagery, plot/action, and characters. Using these interpretive elements helps to give basis to my interpretation. Kingston's novel abounds with imagery, from the ghosts and barbarians, to the
different colors (black, white, and red). Every "talk-story" has a place and meaning and every character is presented in a way to clarify Kingston's motives for writing. His model also presents seven evaluative criteria to which my interpretation applies: consistency, proportionateness, adequacy, completeness, depth, sensitivity, and integratedness. Of these, my interpretation best
fulfills the evaluative criteria of consistency, completeness, and integratedness.
It is evident that the narrator, Kingston, has many conflicts with what is being taught at home and what is experienced in the American society. Through the myth and reality stories Kingston tells, she establishes her beliefs and values of the Chinese culture and contrasts them with the expectations of the American culture. The older generation, her mother, uses their native language to instill the traditional values and the idea of becoming an individual - a
"woman warrior." However, the American culture creates a struggle in balancing these two contradicting force...