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IngratitudeThe Debt-Bound Daughter in Asian American Literature$
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erin Khuê Ninh

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814758441

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814758441.001.0001

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Refractions of Harm

Refractions of Harm

Maxine Hong Kingston

(p.55) 2 Refractions of Harm

erin Khuê Ninh

NYU Press

This chapter interprets Maxine Hong Kingston's narrative strategies in The Woman Warrior, in which the imaginary is inextricable or indistinguishable from the “real,” as an attempt to relate a subjectivity haunted by dire threats, but marked by no empirical harm. Kingston's daily life is one in which nothing of account “happens”; however, her formation as a daughter is structured by the constant threat of violent disownment. That threat conveyed in the anecdotes and legends of her childhood imaginary deploys discourse to condition the subject. Through the fierce tales of her imaginary, Kingston is enabled to articulate an anger proportionate to the harm threatened, and to recognize the threat itself as a type of harm done.

Keywords:   Maxine Kingston, The Woman Warrior, subjectivity, threat, disownment

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