Date of Degree
Nancy K. Miller
American Literature | American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Asian American Studies | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Ethnic Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Literature in English, North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Nonfiction
“If a woman is going to write a Book of Peace, it is given her to know devastation” – Maxine Hong Kingston, The Fifth Book of Peace.
I do not believe I know devastation. I think to be devastated means one has to experience extreme pain, and live in the aftermath of trauma. I think of this in terms of war, famine, and immigration. A little self-reflection shows that in the twenty-something years of my life, I have not encountered any of the three things listed.
What I do recall, however, is the first time I picked up Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir, The Woman Warrior. It was the first time I had read a text written by an Asian American author about an Asian American girl. The sense of attachment between reader and text was immediate; I was captivated by the narrative. Kingston writes about the experience of familial loss because of immigration, and it is a story about one girl’s recovery. As someone who claims not to have experienced devastation, I too, though, have lost parts of myself because of family history. This capstone project is a part experimental, part autobiographical piece that traces my memory of what it was like to grow up Asian American in New York City. I draw connections between my life experiences with those of the narrator from Woman Warrior. Some key themes include oral history, haunting, and family.
Wu, Maple, "A Girlhood Among Ghosts, An Experimental Project" (2017). CUNY Academic Works.
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