Creating the Language of Peace: Peace, War, and Art in the Works of Maxine Hong Kingston
AuthorCaves, Awndrea Shar
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 31-Dec-2017
AbstractIn Creating the Language of Peace: Peace, War, and Art in the Works of Maxine Hong Kingston, I explore how this Chinese American writer pursues the creation of peace in her writings and life. These chapters explore Kingston's discussion of war and her determination to create a language of peace through creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Her works draw our attention to the ubiquity of war in our lives and furthers her endeavor to highlight this as well as her struggle for peace against the backdrop of an American pro-war political landscape. Creating the Language of Peace will be the first book length treatment of these topics across Kingston's career. It also considers Kingston's oft-expressed intention to create peace through artistic means, in her case, through writing. This dissertation will fill the gap in research and analysis, refocusing the discussion on the themes and issues Kingston has repeatedly indicated are vital to understanding her work: peace, war, art, and the creation of a language of peace. Throughout, I consider Kingston's development of a language of peace, her explorations of war and its consequences, the influence of her Buddhist philosophies, the close compatibility of her works with contemporary peace theory, and the possibility for peace poetics within her poetry. The Woman Warrior (1976) and China Men (1980) are the focus of chapter one, an investigation into Kingston's first analyses of war and its consequences for all who are touched by its violence. Chapter two takes the novel Tripmaster Monkey (1989) and compares Kingston's pacifist choices with Johan Galtung's peace theory. Thich Nhat Hanh's version of engaged Buddhism and its influence on both Kingston's The Fifth Book of Peace (2003) and her peace activism is explored in chapter three. The final chapter turns to her two books of poetry, To Be the Poet (2002) and I Love a Broad Margin to My Life (2011), exploring how the role of the American poet as a political voice develops in her poetry.
Degree ProgramGraduate College