Home > Chinese Language, Multiculturality > “THE WOMAN WARRIOR: Memoir of a Childhood among Ghosts” by MAXINE HONG KINGSTON

“THE WOMAN WARRIOR: Memoir of a Childhood among Ghosts” by MAXINE HONG KINGSTON

“…A strange, enchanting book… as a manual of self-discovery through the channels and terrors of one’s own rejected communal memory. it is unbeatable…”

Clancy Sigal – Guardian

“…A brilliant memoir… it is about being chinese and american…”

Jane Kramer – New York Times


This book is one of the foremost Asian – American works of literature. In spite of its general popularity and increasing importance in the Western Canon The book has caused dissent among Chinese – American critics.

Though “The Woman Warrior” has been classified as an “autobiography”, the novel challenges and extends the tradition definition of autobiography.

According to Frank Chin, (1991) the Autobiography is:

“… the traditional tool of Christian conversion” and The Woman Warrior has been written by christian chinese perpetrating and advancing the stereotype of a chinese culture  so cruel to women, so perverse…”


Maxine Hong Kingston, the author of “The Woman Warrior: Memoir of a Girlhood among Ghosts”, was not culturally pure chinese, she was consider an american writter, it means her book is an american book not chinese.

A highly acclaimed memoirist, Kingston integrates autobiographical elements with Asian legend and fictionalized history to delineate cultural conflicts confronting Americans of Chinese descent.

Her novel reveals the particular way of being American of those whose parents have come from Asia. The American Question is about “self”. The autobiography is a central part of the questions Who am I? How did I become what I am?. This kind of questions are the main themes in the book, especially when we are talking about the children of immigrants, because they were caught between 2 cultures.

THE WOMAN WARRIOR: Important Aspects of the Book

The Woman Warrior is a personal, unconventional work that seeks to reconcile Eastern and Western conceptions of female identity. The narrative begins with Kingston’s mother’s brief caveat concerning No Name Woman, young Maxine’s paternal aunt, she was left in their village by her husband,who migrated to UE. No Name Woman became pregnant—perhaps by rape—and was forced by the villagers to drown herself and her baby.

****For more details, you can also see the plot of the book just click here: The Woman Warrior.


At the end of the book Maxine tells the story of Ts’ai Yen, a warrior poetess captured by barbarians who returns to the Chinese with songs from another land. It is a fitting conclusion to a text in which Kingston combines very different worlds and cultures and create a harmony of her own.


The Woman Warrior. (2003, March). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:40, December 17, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Woman_Warrior

Asian-American Literary “Authenticity”: Frank Chin’s 1991 Criticism of Maxine Hong Kingston In 1975 – Huang, Judy. (2001), In Darthmouth.  Retrieved 11:46, December 17, 2010, from http://www.dartmouth.edu/~hist32/History/S08%20-%20Maxine%20Hong%20Kingston%20-%20Frank%20Chin%20Debate.htm

Maxine Hong Kingston. In Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia.  Retrieved 11:50, December 17, 2010  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxine_Hong_Kingston

Review of The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston – Jane Kramer. (November 7, 1976) In Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia.  Retrieved 11:50, December 20, 2010  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Kramer

The Woman Warrior – Clancy Sigal. (2007) In Guardian. Retrieved 11:54, December 20, 2010 from http://www.panmacmillan.com/titles/displayPage.asp?PageTitle=Individual%20Title&BookID=373702

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