Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Carnell, Rachel

Subject Headings

Kingston, Maxine Hong. Woman warrior. Chinese, Kingston, Maxine Hong -- Criticism and interpretation, Autobiography -- Asian American authors, Self in literature -- 20th century, Identity (Philosophical concept) in literature, literature, modern literature, Asian American studies


This work examines the notion of self in the autobiographical narrative of Maxine Hong Kingston. Self-writing is constructing a discursive body, and Kingston presents the reader with a unique articulation of her identity. Conventional autobiographical narratives tend to define a self as an opposition to the other. In such texts the literary discourse is intended to secure the integrity of the self. This image of the self can be called conventional. While the conventional narrative self claims to demonstrate developmental stages of an individual that acquires his or her maturity by the end of the quest, the constantly changing self of Maxine Hong Kingston is never finished. Narrating such an ever-growing self, results in a textual presentation of infinite potentiality. A classical autobiographical self would be immune from outer influences, while Kingston's autobiographical persona is open to all narrative directions and so can be viewed as a "liquid" narrative body, capable of flowing and spreading. Her major narrator for that purpose shares common elements with her entire group of characters. My aim in this work is to show how Kingston depicts her characters as the "liquid narrative self."