The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston Essay

1208 Words5 Pages
In the novel The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston uses ghosts to represent a battle between American and Chinese cultures. The two cultures have different views of what a ghost is. The Chinese believe the ghost spirits may be of people dead or alive. Chinese culture recognizes foreigners and unfamiliar people as ghosts because, like American ghosts, they are mysterious creatures of the unknown. Americans view ghosts as spirits of the dead that either help or haunt people. American ghosts may or may not be real. There spirits are there but physical appearance is a mystery. Chinese culture has many interpretations ghosts. One way they are seen as is people who have disgraced their family or country. An example of this in the…show more content…
This quote shows how the Chinese viewed Americans as ghosts. This quote shows how even the husband, a Chinese man, could look like a ghost. Once he was Americanized he easily blended in with all of the other Americans. The people look unfamiliar and are mysterious and have an unknown culture. In the poem "Hunger", written by Lee Samantha Chang, the author shows how lost the Chinese characters feel in an American setting. Min, a Chinese woman who is stuck in the alien setting of America, tells one of her experiences: "Now I sat alone, I was overtaken by fear. I longed to be back home in Brooklyn, curled up in Tian's big chair, with a Chinese story book in my hand." (Hunger) Min was anxious because she was in a new environment and was surrounded by what Kingston would call ghosts. "And you—and eye not an I—/are walking through it."(Moon and Outgrass lines 6-7) In this line from the poem, Moon and Outgrass shows how the Chinese were viewed by the American "ghosts". As part of her culture, Maxine's mother tells her stories about ghosts giving her false impressions like when she was telling Maxine, "Once upon a time the world was so thick with ghosts, I could hardly breathe; I could hardly walk, limping my way around the White Ghosts and their cars. There were Black Ghosts too, but they were open eyed and full of laughter, more distinct than White Ghosts."(Kingston 97) Leaving Maxine baffled as to whether
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