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Title: "Talk-stories" in the fictions of Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan
Author: Wong, Hiu Wing
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis investigates the "talk-story" narrative patterns, which stem from the Chinese oral tradition, in selected works of two contemporary Chinese American women writers, Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan. In The Woman Warrior, Kingston has experimented with a new kind of "talk-story" writing in blending family stories, cultural myths, fantasy, autobiographical details, and history, as she attempts to model her work on the familial talk-story culture she was nurtured in. Borrowing the term "talk story" from a pidgin Hawai'ian expression, Kingston develops a special kind of generic "talk-story" as an artistic creation in her fictions. Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club is often compared to The Woman Warrior and a number of critics have observed the use of "talk-story" in Tan's novels, but the talk-story components in the two writers' works have been largely discussed in relation to the mother-daughter dyads and few critics have distinguished the different usages and functions of "talk-stories" in their works. Through a literary analysis of their works, my thesis attempts to enrich the concept of "talk-story" originated from Kingston, and discusses its relation to the works of Kingston and Tan, with an aim to teasing out the two writers' differences within their sameness. While Kingston exhibits a talk-story narrative structure in her works, Tan mainly confines the talk-story elements at a textual level as a healing narrative therapy between generations. I will argue that while both writers exemplify talk-story as a form of self-expression and empowerment, their talk-stories function differently as they interact with the mainstream discourse: while Kingston remodels the Chinese talk-story pattern by making it a form of literary art, Tan refashions talk-story as a kind of "talking-cure, " as in western psychotherapy, in her fictions and writes in the popular arena.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Overseas Research Studentship (ORS) ; University of Warwick (UoW)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PS American literature