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The Destructive Aspect of the American Dream in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior

By Zsófia Huszár

Abstract

As Gross Avery claims, “generational conflict, cultural clashes, and family strife – common concerns in immigrant fiction” (25) – are central to a representative urban novel: Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior. Since the older immigrants cling to their memories and customs, it is their more perceivable children, torn between two worlds, who provide the drama. In the traditional sense it is a Bildungsroman, “education” novel, charting the protagonist’s loss of innocence and her painful initiation into a new life. The points of view in these kinds of novels are often of the first generation adolescents, doubly burdened by their age and foreign backgrounds. Uprooted from native cultures, vulnerable to changing values, they battle to survive in hostile urban environments (Gross Avery 25). These characters inhabit two worlds – the immigrant one which still dominates their emotional landscape and the American way of life which fuels their ambitions. Both the past and present, their mother country and America, compete for the loyalties of the heroines and heroes who attempt to integrate the two. While the conditions play a central role in all of these works, the emphasis is on the individual, particularly on the maturation of the youthful protagonists. The focus is on whether they are able to bridge the two cultures and whether they are able to struggle with the destructive forces of the American dream. In my thesis I am going to analyze the destructive forces of the American dream, focusing on the individual in Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior.BSc/BAanglisztik

Topics: identity crisis, multiculturalism, DEENK Témalista::Irodalomtudomány::Összehasonlító irodalomtudomány
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:dea.lib.unideb.hu:2437/170207
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