The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston

“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
In 2013, Maxine Hong Kingston was honored with the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. The president noted in his speech for the occasion that “when I was first writing my first book (Dreams from My Father) and trying to teach myself how to write, The Woman Warrior was one of the books I read.” Clearly,
The Woman Warrior was among the book that greatly inspired the president to write. So here I am again with the recs from Obama.
The Woman Warrior was such a powerful memoir, told tales about what it’s like to grow up as a Chinese immigrant in American land. The narration of this book constructed mostly an inheritance of stories that Kingston’s mother told her when she was young–Chinese folklores, Communist China, the poverty, the low value placed on women in China (1940s). The genius of The Woman Warrior inspired me to reexamine about the boundaries of race, gender, and class as an Asian woman. But what stabbed me in the heart the most was the dialogue between Kingston’s mother and herself that created such a huge conflict between the two. Kingston was not only fighting against racist American, being different and school bullying but she also had to deal with family drama. The struggles of the mother-daughter relationship cause not only by the generation gap but also the culture different, while Kingston was the first generation Chinese-American, her mother was born and raised in China. Her mother put such low respect to Kingston and kept saying that she was ugly and stupid and tried to marry her off just like what it was common back in China. On the contrary, Kingston was American, born and grew up in this freedom land. She valued her own capability and knew what she stood for, her dreams of being mathematician or scientist was different from what her mother expected. When Kingston protested, her mother made excuses and said, “That’s what we’re supposed to say. That’s what Chinese say. We like to say the opposite.”

Share This
Also Recommend

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *