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Essay The Woman Warrior

Decent Essays
The Woman Warrior

Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior discusses her and her mother Brave Orchid's relationship. On the surface, the two of them seem very different however when one looks below the surface they are very similar. An example of how they superficially seem different is the incident at the drug store when Kingston is mortified at what her mother makes her do. Yet, the ways that they act towards others and themselves exemplifies their similarities at a deeper level. Kingston gains many things from her mother and becomes who she is because of Brave Orchid, "Rather than denying or suppressing the deeply embedded ambivalence her mother arouses in her, Kingston unrelentingly evokes the powerful presence of
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I want to know why. And you're going to tell me why. You don't see I am trying to help you out, do you?" (Kingston, 180). She acts very strong and overbearing but insists that it is for the girl's own good. Just as Kingston can demand the sixth grader to speak, Brave Orchid is also seen as demanding to her children, "Brave Orchid can also be admonitory, as she demands that her children eat, even when they stare in dismay at blood pudding quivering in the middle of the dining table" (Huntley, 87).

"Ghosts represent the gulf between Maxine and her mother, the ambiguities in their relationship. They are ghosts to one another, strangers in some fundamental way, each finding the other disturbingly incomprehensible" (Huntley, 96). In Chinese culture unfamiliar things are referred to as ghosts. Such simple things in American life are ghosts in Chinese culture such as ghost teachers, delivery ghosts, and druggist ghosts (Kingston, 169). Kingston is a ghost to her mother because she is American and not Chinese. Brave Orchid considers Kingston a ghost because she does not lead her life as Chinese people do even though Brave Orchid is aware that she has grown up as an American. Brave Orchid is a ghost to Kingston because she has neither become completely American nor immersed in the American culture. Kingston is embarrassed of the way her mother acts towards the American
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