; The Woman Warrior - Catawba County Schools
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

The Woman Warrior - Catawba County Schools


  • pg 1
									The Woman
Memoir of a Girl Among Ghosts

   Maxine Hong Kingston

                        Nikki Boulany
  This novel is one that has been chosen for
student-reading all across the United States. It
    gives an outlook to students that gives
   knowledge of life in other cultures. In this
  particular novel, you will gain knowledge of
   the Chinese culture and tradition. So it is
        important to keep an open mind.
    There are many things she wants you to
see in this novel. She wants you to grasp the
concept of how Chinese women are looked as
unimportant in society. Kingston also wants
you to see the idea of how the Chinese
people tend to try to be secretive of their life
as much as possible and the most important
idea is her journey of trying to grow up as a
Chinese-American girl.
The Characters
Maxine Hong Kingston: She is the narrator of the
story. In this novel, she struggles with her identity
as a Chinese American child growing up in the
United States who was raised on traditions and
legends of her Chinese background.
Brave Orchid: This is the mother of Maxine. She
is the brave and strong woman who can do
anything that comes her way. She also is the one
who always tells the stories of Chinese life.
The Characters
Kingston’s Father: He is rarely talked about in
the novel, but he is the one that brought the
family over to America in the first place.
Moon Orchid: She is Brave Orchid’s younger
sister who comes and lives with the family in
an effort to find her husband that emigrated to
the United States thirty years earlier. She is a
very fragile and incapable person which
annoys the family very much.
In the first chapter, No-Name Woman, it is
  the story of Kingston’s father’s dead sister.
           She was pregnant with a baby who
           was obviously not her husband’s.
           The villagers consequently
           ransacked the house and tore up all
  their belongings. That night the aunt had
  slept in the pigpen and had born her baby
The next morning, the aunt and the newborn
baby was found clogging up the family well. It is
a shame to have such a woman in the family, so
that is the reason the family has denied her
existence. Kingston’s father had never spoke of
her and hence she was in Kingston’s mind titled
No-Name Woman. Kingston yet thought of her
great-aunt as a bad person, but
gave her the benefit of the doubt
and made up excuses for her
tragic life.
In the chapter White Tigers, it is based
around the story of Fa Mu Lan. Kingston
makes believe that she is a strong, powerful
woman warrior like her. She climbs up to a
tall mountain and is trained by this couple,
who she later discovers is very old. After she
finished her training, she went
back home to her parents. They
were very pleased to see her
and they knew she was chosen
to fight against the baron’s army.
She was disguised as a man and led a
great army. All who fought against her
were defeated. She became to be known
as a great warrior. This
contrasts to her reality
because women are actually
thought of as weak and
useless. She wanted to break out of the mold
of the belief that all women were weak. She
wanted to become her own soldier.
In the chapter Shaman, it concentrates around
              Kingston’s mother, Brave Orchid.
              After her first two children died of
              unknown reasons she goes to
              school to become a doctor. She
   tells of how the school is haunted with many
   ghosts and her fight against the “sitting ghost”.
   This leads to her references of how all
   American people are “ghosts”, such as the
   “paperboy ghost” and the “milkman ghost”.
In chapter four, At the Western Place, Moon
Orchid comes into the story. She came over to
America because her sister convinced her to
find her husband that came earlier. Moon
Orchid is incapable of doing anything helpful
for the family. Most of the family see her as a
burden. Later she moves to Los Angeles to be
with her daughter, but goes insane and has
thoughts of “Mexican ghosts” plotting to kill
In the last chapter, A Song for a Barbarian Reed
   Pipe, Kingston tells how she has bad speech
   so she keeps quiet in school. Yet, she is
   jealous of the silent girl in her class. This girl
   never talks unless she reads aloud. She
   especially doesn’t like her because they are
   both the most unpopular in the class. Kingston
   torments the girl when they are alone and
   makes her cry. She is punished by falling ill to
   a mysterious sickness and was bedridden for
   a year and a half.
After her recovery, her mother sets up dates for so she can
   find her husband. She doesn’t want any of them so she
   acts crippled. Then she thinks that the village will make
               her marry a retarded boy. She becomes
               furious and blames her mother for always
               lying to her about her “talk-stories” and her
   mother calls her a “Good Foundation Ghost” meaning a
   person who was raised in America with all the
   advantages. She combined stories of her grandmother
   and an old poetess and brought back an old Chinese
   hymn, “A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe”.
    In the beginning of this book, it was
confusing to understand what was fantasy or
reality of the book. Yet, it was fun to read and
learn about the Chinese culture. I think
anyone who is open to other traditions should
read this book. You learn to have respect for
other people and their beliefs.

To top