Real, or Just Imagination?

March 27, 2011
By AliceDean GOLD, Skopje, Other
AliceDean GOLD, Skopje, Other
11 articles 10 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
The happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved.

Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it.

'One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing. When that desire is completely quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human.' — C.S. Lewis

'Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure.' — Rowena Ravenclaw

Every story has an end, but in life every end is just a new beginning.

‘Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really Great make you feel that you, too, can become great.’ — Mark Twain

‘Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.’ — Plato

‘I am only one, but I still am one. I cannot do everything, but I still can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.’ — Edward Everett Hale

‘You are no bigger than the things that annoy you.’ — Jerry Bundsen

‘Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.’ — Jeff Valdez

'What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.' — Mark Twain

'Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.' — Benjamin Franklin

'What is essential is invisible to the eye.' — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in "The Little Prince"

'If you're holding out for universal popularity, you'll be waiting a long time.' — Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

'I have balls of yarn.' - Monika Spancheska

'Well, it [the news] changes every day, you see.' - Harry Potter

'You can't give a Dementor the old one-two!' - Harry Potter

'And they'd [the Death Eaters] love to have me. We'd be best pals if they didn't keep trying to do me in.' - Harry Potter

'There's no need to call me sir Professor.' - Harry Potter

'A Study of Hogwarts Prefects and Their Later Careers... That sounds fascinating...' - Ron Weasley

'I want to fix that in my memory forever. Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret...' - Ron Weasley

'Because that's what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library. - Ron Weasley

'Can I have a look at Uranus, too, Lavender?' - Ron Weasley

'...from now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell 'die, Ron, die,' I'm chucking them in the bin where they belong.' - Ron Weasley

'Percy wouldn't recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea cozy.' - Ron Weasley

'And what in the name of Merlin’s most baggy Y Fronts was that about?' - Ron Weasley

'Well, I don't know how to break this to you, but I think they might have noticed we broke into Gringotts.' - Ron Weasley

'Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have.' - Hermione Granger

'Grawp's about sixteen feet tall, enjoys ripping up twenty-foot pine trees, and knows me as Hermy.' - Hermione Granger

'To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.' - Albus Dumbledore

'It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Fear of a name increases fear of a thing itself.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!' - Albus Dumbledore

'It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.' - Albus Dumbledore

'You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.' - Albus Dumbledore

'I do love knitting patterns.' - Albus Dumbledore

'And now Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.' - Albus Dumbledore

'I would assume that you were going to offer me refreshment, but the evidence so far suggests that that would be optimistic to the point of foolishness.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Time is making fools of us again.' - Albus Dumbledore

'It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.' - Albus Dumbledore

'From this point forth, we shall be leaving the firm foundation of fact and journeying together through the murky marshes of memory into thickets of wildest guesswork.' - Albus Dumbledore

'What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows.' - Albus Dumbledore

'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?' - Albus Dumbledore

Of course, any time the family produced someone halfway decent they were disowned.- Sirius Black

'The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure.' - Severus Snape

'Ah, of course. There is no need to tell me any more, Ms. Granger. Which one of you will be dying this year?' - Minerva McGonagall

'Really, what has got into you all today? Not that it matters, but that's the first time my transformation's not got applause from a class' - Minerva McGonagall

'We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.' - Minerva McGonagall

'I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid.' - Lily Evans

'You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts...but you cannot deny he's got style...' - Phineas Nigellus

'I'll join you when hell freezes over.' - Neville Longbotom

"The Woman Warrior" by Maxine Hong Kingston is a memoir that is quite revolutionary. When it was written, memoirs had a more strict structure and usually followed a certain chronological pattern. The narrator dances through time, talking about the past, then flashing back to the present. In addition, in a few chapters of the book, the word “I” is seldom mentioned as the stories of Brave Orchid and Moon Orchid unravel. Most of the memories Kingston describes in her book are based on talk-stories, told to her by her mother, Brave Orchid. However, these talk-stories are full of ambiguity and sometimes lack detail, making Kingston use her imagination to fill in the blanks. Therefore, even though "The Woman Warrior" is a memoir that uses first-person narration, like all other memoirs, there is much confusion created by the narrator as the reader finds it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

That confusion is first created when Kingston recalls her mother telling her the talk-story of No-Name Woman, Kingston’s aunt who killed herself and her newborn baby when her fellow villagers cast her out. When Brave Orchid tells the talk-story, she uses very few details, since that woman brought disgrace and shame to the family and everyone pretends she was never even born. When Kingston fails to see a reason why her aunt would ever have a child with anyone but her own husband, she starts imagining different possible situations that could explain her aunt’s position. As all this is intertwined with Brave Orchid’s talk-story, one cannot tell what really happened and what is imagination.

Another time when it is impossible to separate fiction from reality is when Kingston tells the story of Fa Mu Lan, a mythical woman warrior. In that chapter, Kingston takes on the very character of Fa Mu Lan and tells the myth through first-person narration. For those who have not heard the original Chinese myth, the changes that Kingston makes to the story might be unnoticeable. However, one can never be too sure as to the accuracy of the myth told by Kingston, for all the facts fit together, yet do not seem perfectly logical. It becomes even more difficult as Kingston begins comparing herself to Fa Mu Lan and her accomplishments.

The chapter titled “At the Western Palace” is yet another time when the narration completely confuses readers and makes them wonder. Although this is Kingston’s memoir and she is the narrator, she is not present during most of the happenings in that chapter. They were told to her by her sister, who found everything out from their brother who took Moon Orchid and Brave Orchid to Los Angeles to look for Moon Orchid’s long-lost husband. In this chapter, one cannot be sure about anything, since all three siblings can add things to the original story to make it seem more interesting or logical. Whether Brave Orchid really tried to hit Moon Orchid’s husband or it was just a figment of someone’s imagination, the reader cannot tell. Once again, very unclear narration.

In "The Woman Warrior", what is fiction and what is real, no one really knows. Nevertheless, it is why Kingston uses these memories to find her own voice that matters. They help her illuminate the dark corners of her past and look up to a brighter future as a more complete self. As for whether or not the things in the book really happened—one can only guess.

The author's comments:
Analytical essay - Analysis of "The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts" by Maxine Hong Kingston

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