Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior

Discussion and analysis of Kingston’s book, `The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts`.

This paper introduces, discusses, and analyzes the book, `The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts`, by Maxine Hong Kingston. Specifically, it discusses why Kingston chooses to tell the stories of her mother and other female relatives, combining genres of autobiography, fantasy, fiction, and mythology, in order to illuminate her own identity.
“In order to understand her relatives, and ultimately understand herself, Maxine Hong Kingston records the stories of her family in amusing and fanciful tales that point out the gap between the Chinese culture of her mother, and the American culture of Maxine and her siblings. Kingston’s story is more than simply the age-old contest between mother and growing daughter, it is a struggle to understand a culture she is part of, and yet has never known. Often, her mother’s actions make no sense to Maxine, living a comfortable life in the U.S. She has no understanding of hunger and want, and does not understand her mother’s obsession with food, waste, and eating. She writes, We’d have to face four- and five-day-old leftovers until we ate it all. The squid eye would keep appearing at breakfast and dinner until eaten. Sometimes brown masses sat on every dish.