Breaking Silences: Telling Asian American Female Subversive Stories in Maxine Hong Kingston’s<i> The Woman Warrior</i> and Fae Myenne Ng’s <i>Bone</i>


  • Chingyen Yang Myer



The paradox of silence has been an on-going topic of interest in Asian American literary and critical analysis. In the dominant American cultural discourse, silence is often viewed as passivity and weakness while for people from non-Western cultures, silence can be a powerful and profound method of communication. As American-born female Chinese American writers, Maxine Hong Kingston (1940-) and Fae Myenne Ng (1956-) face dual marginalisation and subjugation in both the dominant American and Chinese American cultures. They are confronted with the “impulse to speak and the impulse not to speak†(Yamamoto 129). Keeping in mind King-Kok Cheung’s assertion that articulation rather than silence is the ultimate act of resistance against patriarchal and racist domination (“Don’t Tell†400), I examine how Kingston and Ng confront the silence that undermines their agency as female and marginalised subjects through the development of an eloquent female discourse. Through their retelling of family and communal stories from female perspectives, I demonstrate how their breaking of silence is an act of disruption and resistance against erasure by their dual cultural traditions and American political and institutional apparatuses.


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Author Biography

Chingyen Yang Myer

 Chingyen Yang Mayer is Associate Professor of American literature at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. She specialises in Asian American literature and 20th century American literature. Her research interests include issues of home, exile, displacement, migration, race and gender. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences, and published in edited books and peer-reviewed journals. She co-edited the June 2015 special issue of ASIATIC with internationally renowned scholar Dr. Mohammad A. Quayum on Narratives of unstable homes in Asian American literature. Email:  




How to Cite

Myer, C. Y. (2017). Breaking Silences: Telling Asian American Female Subversive Stories in Maxine Hong Kingston’s&lt;i&gt; The Woman Warrior&lt;/i&gt; and Fae Myenne Ng’s &lt;i&gt;Bone&lt;/i&gt;. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 11(1).



Section III: Interviews