Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior Essay

1302 Words6 Pages
Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston's novel, The Woman Warrior is a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories that chronicles her childhood in California. It gives the reader a feeling of how it feels like to be a Chinese American girl growing up with traditional parents in a world that is quite different from theirs. Throughout the novel, both she and her mother refer to the outside world as "ghosts." The subtitle given to the book is Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. To figure out the meaning behind this subtitle, one has to try to see what…show more content…
It is here where we see Kingston use the term "ghost" in a manner to mean "stranger." She writes, "America has been full of machines and ghosts – Taxi Ghosts, Bus Ghosts, Police Ghosts, Fire Ghosts, Meter Reader Ghosts, Tree Trimming Ghosts Five-and-Dime Ghosts." This description gives the reader the culture shock that someone who has just moved to the US can get. It may be a very unnerving experience to be surrounded by so many strange and alien things.
Despite her mother using the term "ghost" to be vaguely insulting, it does not seem that way when Kingston uses this term for people. For example is in the chapter A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe. She labels her Negro friends as "black ghosts." When she labels gives them this name, it is not as if she is using this term in a derogatory manner. Since her mother has always referred to strangers as ghosts, she has picked up the same habit. In this context, it is as if she refers to her friends in an affectionate manner when she calls them "ghosts."
Storytelling (or in the case of this novel, "talk-story") also plays a crucial role in this book. Within each chapter, there are other smaller stories that are a part
Get Access