The Woman Warrior

Writing process

The completion of The Woman Warrior came from Kingston’s on-the-spot writing of her thoughts. She wrote down anything—until some of it started falling into place.[80] It was this habit that allowed Kingston to complete The Woman Warrior in just three years while teaching at a boarding school that demanded she be on call twenty-four hours a day.[81]

It is interesting to note that the original title of The Woman Warrior was Gold Mountain Stories.[82] As Kingston states in a 1986 interview with Jody Hoy:

“The publishers didn’t like a title that sounds like a collection of short stories; they never like to publish collections of short stories. I wasn’t that happy with either of those titles, I think that calling that book The Woman Warrior emphasizes ‘warrior.’ I’m not really telling the story of war, I want to be a pacifist.” [83]

In terms of Kingston’s decision-making process in what to include and exclude from her story, she admits to using only what she deemed was “necessary” cultural imagery. She didn’t want readers to approach her work as "exotic.” What cultural references she did allow to remain in The Woman Warrior she considered to be more “American-friendly.” This, of course, was a very subjective endeavor on her part, and, in a more recent reflection she had on The Woman Warrior, Kingston was quoted as calling the cultural references “really Chinese.”[84]

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