The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston – Review

The-Woman-WarriorThe Chinese American writer Maxine Hong Kingston wrote an autobiography “The Woman Warrior” which was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1976. This biography revolves around the life of a girl whose life is a ghost. To define the genre of this no doubt there are many scholarly debates going for its classification. Aside from that this book should be considered as a very good work of creative nonfiction.

In all the five chapters of this book, the writer bends the tale according to the chines folk tale. Which turn to be a very revolutionary and complex portrayal of last century Chinese-American living in U.S. under the shadow of the Chinese revolution.

This autobiography text is most commonly taught in modern university education, this was reported by the Modern Language Association. This book has been used in discipline as well as anthropology, Asian studies, American literature, education, sociology, psychology, composition and for women studies. This book was nominated for Times Magazine top notification books of the 1970’s. And it also won the award of National Book Critics Circle Award.

This book is divided into five chapters which are connected with each other. The book can be read like short stories. This book was first published in 1975 and there were five stories included in this book by Kingston. The stories were about the three characters.

Maxine’s Aunt:

This women character was included as the no-name women. This character is based on women who married before all of her brothers and sisters. And after marriage, she moves toward America. When her husband was gone for very long she became pregnant and for this. Her family was ransacked by the townspeople and also they were very humiliated by the people in the town. When the time of birth arrives she realizes that she should give birth in alone in the barn. After the birth of a healthy baby girl, she jumps in the well drowning both her baby girl as well as herself. After being dead her family pretends that she never existed.


This character is about a young girl who is now coming to her adolescence. She is transitioning into her womanhood. And not only have the physical changes occurred in her body but she also goes through the emotional development as a young growing girl. The girl also experiences the difference of beliefs among the Chinese culture and American culture of going through this stage of life. She is terrified by the story her mother told her about her no-name aunt. And she keeps herself silent for years about her aunt. She also imagines what her aunt must have gone through and felt even a worse image than her mother told her about her aunt.

Overall these years the girl ponders about her aunt whether the aunt was forced to have a sexual relationship with another man. Or she fell in love with another woman or she was just a women who enjoyed having sex with another man.

Maxine’s Mother:

This character of Maxine’s mother is about a mother being overprotective about her daughter. The mother tells her the story of her father’s sister who was accused of a sexual relationship. And how the people treated her. The mother terrifies her daughter so that she doesn’t break the family norms and remain a good daughter.

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