“The Reporting is the Vengeance”: Fantasy, Feminism, and Narrative Resistance in The Woman Warrior

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Amarin Young


Fantasy has been recognized by feminist scholars and activists for its supportive role in social justice movements, both as a tool of critique and as basic equipment for designing better futures. While the imaginative nature of fantasy allows us to access important opportunities by conceiving of possibilities beyond the present and empowering action, future-oriented readings of fantasy tend to overlook the ways that fantasy delivers social change in the present, at the time of its creation. This article considers the use of fantasy as a present-oriented form of resistance in Maxine Hong Kingston’s 1976 autobiography The Woman Warrior. Granting fantasy and reality equal agency in her controversial book, Kingston employs fantasy to speak out about her experiences with sexism in the Chinese American community while writing difference into standard narratives of history and life as a Chinese American. This article emphasizes the power of fantasy in The Woman Warrior to disrupt the dominant historical narrative voice by representing difference in the present.

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