Author sees story not as sad, but as triumphant journey |

Author sees story not as sad, but as triumphant journey

Although director Diane Fetterly of “The Woman Warrior” views the play as sad, Maxine Hong Kingston, whose nonfiction books provide the storyline for the play, sees it as happy and exuberant.

“It’s about a young person who discovers her lineage, her connection with America and China and her ancestors,” Kingston said on the phone Monday from her Berkeley home.

“It’s a story about all of us, the way we all live, not just the way Chinese-Americans live,” she said. “There’s universal ideas about participating in the larger world. We’re all part of this American history. It’s a story about growing up and becoming a wonderful person, which happens to everybody.”

Kingston was upset to think that the viewer might regard this tale as unhappy.

“It’s not sad, but painful to me,” she said. “The girl encounters sexism, racism and all the other traumas of growing up in America in the 1950s.”

That same girl becomes her own person as she, in one scene, jumps up on a mountain and sees the river and the residents beyond.

“It’s a great moment of someone who grows so much we can perceive her connections to all the world,” Kingston said. “Her soul and mind become so large, she understands everything: people, her own place in the community and in history.”

– Carol Feineman

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