Woman Warrior Essay

Decent Essays
Woman Warrior Essay 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 Kingston means when she and her family use the term "ghost."
When people think of ghosts, it can be said that thoughts of death and non-existence come to mind. When this term is used
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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 of the themes of each chapter. In a way, these old stories function as "ghosts," not only because these smaller stories are old, but also because the contents of the stories that are told to her still haunt her in many ways.
The Woman Warrior starts off with the story titled No Name Woman. In this chapter, Brave Orchid tells the story of Kingston's aunt. Despite her warning to Kingston ("You must not tell anyone.") Kingston still decides to tell the story to the reader. In this part of the story, the nameless aunt has a child out of wedlock. At the end of the story, she commits suicide by (presumably) jumping into the drinking well and drowning herself. Kingston believes her aunt did this to spite the people of her village. This can be interpreted as a type of ghost story, not only because this nameless aunt found a way to spite the villagers after death, but also because
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