A politics of métissage: Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts


In her Autobiographical Voices: Race, Gender, Self-Portraiture (1989), Françoise Lionnet identifies the life writing of women of color as the reflection of their heterogeneous differences and theorizes female autobiographical narratives as métissage. Métissage, nearly untranslatable, meaning “braiding,” views autobiography as an engagement of the author with history, myth, and cultures, and defines it as a braid of multiple voices and disparate forms. InThe Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (1976), Maxine Hong Kingston combines numerous voices into the (auto)biographical “I” as well as various forms in the narrative to express her identity as comprising manifold, different elements. In her life writing, she neither follows the unique self-representation propagated by male writers nor validates the inner personal tradition of women. Instead, breaking the fixities of thought and expression, she juxtaposes the historical with the mythical, the biographical with the autobiographical to form a language of resistance and solidarity. The present paper argues that by articulating her identity as a braid of differences, constructing self as a braid of multiple voices, and making her narrative a braid of multiple genres and traditions Kingston enacts her life writing as a politics of métissage.


differences, relational self, politics of métissage, Maxine Hong Kingston, blending traditions

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Published : 2022-03-20

Popy, S. A. (2022) “A politics of métissage: Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts ”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, 350, pp. 17-27. doi: 10.15290/CR.2021.35.4.02.

Shirin Akter Popy  shirin@nstu.edu.bd
Noakhali Science and Technology University, Bangladesh  Bangladesh

Dr. Shirin Akter Popy is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Bangladesh. Her research articles have appeared in reputed peer reviewed journals like Crossings, Harvest, Commonwealth Review, Dialogue and Overtones. Her area of interest is autobiography studies. She is currently involved in a research project on selected South Asian Women’s autobiography.