1. 1. How does the warrior woman change after she gives birth? Why?2. Why does Kingston say, "My American life has been such a disappointment"?3. Consider the importance of language in this section. For example, analyze the act the warrior womans parents perform4. on her back, the "Chinese word for the female I," and the last paragraph of the section. "Night after night my mother would talk-story until we fell asleep," Kingston writes. "I couldnt tell where the stories left and the dreams began, her voice the voice of the heroines in my sleep" (19). What is the significance of this passage in relation to the novel itself?
2. 5. Why do you suppose the notion of the woman warrior figures so prominently in Kingstons imagination? How does the woman warrior develop? What does she learn to do?6. Kingston writes: "Unlike tigers, dragons are so immense, I would never see one in its entirety" (28). How might this statement serve as a metaphor for something larger or more significant than dragons?7. What are some of the physical and mental ordeals that Fa Mu Lan must undergo, and what do you think is their significance? What do you think is the symbolism of Fa Mu Lan’s story
3. 8. How does Maxine’s life in America compare to Fa Mu Lan’s story? What does Maxine learn from the story of Fa Mu Lan? How does this relate to No Name Woman’s story?9. What is the significance of the passage from “White Tigers” about the “two people made of gold dancing the earth’s dances” ( 27)?10. How do you interpret the passage in “White Tigers” about the ages of the swordswoman’s two mentors (28)?
4. 1. At the end of “White Tigers,” the Chinese-American narrator states that “The swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar” ( 53). In what ways are they similar and dissimilar?2. This might lead to a consideration of the book’s title: what are the meanings of the warrior woman? Fa Mu Lan is a well-known figure in Chinese legend, but she is only one of many women in the book. How can Fa Mu Lan assist us in understanding Kingston’s view of women and their roles? Does this female figure out of Chinese folklore illuminate the American experience of Kingston and her family?3. The sub-title also identifies The Woman Warrior as a memoir. However, only a relatively small portion of the text provides conventional sorts of autobiographical information—something we discussed in class on Monday. Weaving together old tales with contemporary experience, Chinese myths and American popular culture, the book dissolves the line between fiction and non- fiction. This raises the question of genre: what kind of book is this? What gains (or perhaps losses) follow from Kingston’s narrative method?
5. 4. What does the chapter title, “White Tigers,” refer to? What significance does this chapter have regarding Kingston’s memories of her childhood?5. Why does the woman warrior change after she gives birth? What does her character say about the role of women in Chinese society? What are some other ex- amples in the book of how women are regarded in China? Compare them to how Chinese-American women are portrayed.6. Why does Kingston decide she “would have to grow up a warrior woman”?7. How does Fa Mu Lan lead her men? How do they regard her?8. How is Kingston’s remaining family in China doing?9. How do she and her family try to help them?
6. 10. What would “talk story” be equivalent to in American tradition? Point out similarities and/or differences.11. Relate the story of Fa Mu Lan. Place emphasis on the dream-like description of the setting.12. What was the significance of the gourd? When was it used and why?13. When was the warrior’s level of tolerance for pain severely tested and why?14. How did the warrior meet her husband?
7. 15. What was the outcome of the woman warrior?16. Is there any American or English tale that comes to mind which parallels the woman warrior?17. How have childhood experiences affected the adult life of the speaker?18. What has the speaker learned from fairy tales? Cite specific examples from the text.19. Discuss the speaker’s view towards communism?