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Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts / Edition 1

Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts / Edition 1

4.4 16
by Maxine Hong Kingston

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ISBN-10: 0072435194

ISBN-13: 2900072435190

Pub. Date: 06/28/2000

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education

A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity.


A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity.

Product Details

McGraw-Hill Higher Education
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition

Table of Contents

No Name Woman1
White Tigers17
At the Western Palace111
A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe161

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The Woman Warrior (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kingston¿s uniqueness in blending both fiction and nonfiction into her works clearly defines her proficiency with the English language. Along with that, her memoirs add a taste of Chinese culture to our American lifestyle, giving her audience a head-on collision of both worlds. In The Woman Warrior, Kingston incorporates her personal experience with fictional elements, producing a piece that is controversially misconceived as an autobiography. This work of literary ingenious is structured in an autobiographical form, and nothing more. Relying a great deal on imagination and memory, she recreates moments in her life from the important fragments, unforgettable and yearning for a form. The Woman Warrior is a collection of stories to grow by. In addition, The Woman Warrior is a self-searching fictional piece of literature with relations to Kingston¿s mother, the female relatives she had heard of, and fables of astonishing heroines. The memoir indirectly educates its reader of the difference between American-Chinese and Chinese women. It brings forth Chinese customs, and the consequences for actions not acceptable of a woman, and persuades its American and Chinese-American readers to make connections with it. Present throughout her book are many similar themes, all of which deal with societal pressures on and expectance of women. The role of women in the traditional Chinese society is a reoccurring subject, both apparent and obscure, as well as the power of speech and writing as opposed to being silenced, growing up as a Chinese-American 'becoming Americanized', and individuality vs. conformity. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. The Woman Warrior is captivating, appealing to your emotions and giving you the opportunity to glimpse into the lives of women and better understand the difficulties, the hardships, and obstacles women had to face to find themselves. The vast amounts of culture hidden behind the text helped me, in a way, realize that my culture is very much a part of me, as it is to my parents. I¿m always being reminded that certain actions I am performing are not part of my culture. I could never really understand why it should matter, I mean, I¿ve never lived in the same place where my parents grew up and yet here I am being scolded for acting the way I do based on the present culture I grew up with. Now I can see that no matter what I choose to do, my heritage is a part of who I am, and that traditions should be treated as guidelines to both protect and aid me in all my decisions. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about heroines both from a fictional and nonfictional standpoint - feminine family relations and how culture plays a role in the way women are treated. The Woman Warrior would stand well with those searching for a book with a purpose or meaning in life. It is extremely touching.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No matter the individual this account of women stuck between a male dominated society that was China in the 19-20th centuries and its antithesis, the United States, this book will draw tears from your eyes. Being a male who is not trapped between two worlds I still was inclined to mourn for the events of this book. The segment with the Drowning Woman is especially difficult to get through. Read and learn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this book for my AP English Course. This book caught my attention right away when I read the synopsis, however the book exceeded my expectations. I love the author's fusion of Traditional Chinese culture with that of American culture. The different expectations of her family, teachers, and classmates make it easy for anybody to relate to the experiences in the book. I would recommend this book to ANYONE!
cola11 More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my summer reading AP English course, and I loved it. I read it in the first two days. It is very well written. I love how the details make you feel like you were there. Amazing book. It is a Must read, I enjoyed it very much.
lizzybgirl2 More than 1 year ago
Woman Warrior is an inspiring memoir of Maxine Kingston's life in America. This memoir is about women in Kingston's life that have impacted her significantly. Kingston shows some Chinese culture and mixes it with today's American society. Females in this society are looked down upon and are a disgrace to parents,but The women in this story show how strong and successful women can be. Kingston's determination to be a strong, brave, and independent woman warrior is inspiring and incredible. The fictional parts in this memoir almost make you forget that Woman Warrior is an autobiography. Woman Warrior has really helped me appreciate my culture and also given me a new respect for all the things that my mom has done to stay in touch with her heritage. I used to get annoyed with my mother because she always told me that I needed to learn more about my Chinese heritage, but after reading this book I have an understanding of some of the things she has been through. The hardships that these women go through to gain self-confidence and respect is incredibly inspiring. Something I dislike about Woman warrior was the way Kingston transitioned from the story of Fa Mu Lan to her life in America, but I loved the story of Fa Mu Lan. The adventure in "White Tiger" is phenomenal and makes you feel like you are there with Fa Mu Lan. I strongly recommend this book to women everywhere especially Chinese-American women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Packed with disgrace, rebellion, corruption, and hope, this novel converts a reader's soul into an understanding one. The fight for feminism and a clear vision of the world is discernible. The fear of being haunted by abandonment transforms into a phase of independence and empowerment. By incorporating both fiction and nonfiction into this marvelous piece, Kingston contrasts life in the older society of China with life as a maturing Chinese-American woman. Her tone of "irreconcilable" sends a tingle down spines. It is arduous to confront tradition, while accepting the concept of change. Men are hardly mentioned throughout the entire novel, since Kingston explicates that restrictions were made under the roof of a husband. Isolation may not have been the best thing, but independence was the only way to explore the depths of wisdom. Being family-orientated, brave, and persistent are few of the characteristics Kingston, her mother, and Fa Mu Lan obtain(ed). The auspiciousness of the novel teaches many women to not suppress any feelings or thoughts. Kingston's writing style was infinitely passionate, though is not meant to be given as a Christmas gift. The theme of silence, potency, and role of women in the Chinese culture is obviously present. For anyone looking for inspiration and/or encouragement, read Maxine Hong Kingston's "The Woman Warrior -Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Certainly, this was an author I would not have read on my own, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book both from the way in which it was written and the content. Kingston's take on what life in China was like for her mother and family was different than any other book that I have read before. I found her perspective unusual, but entertaining and interesting. Although, I cannot say that I could not put it down, I can say that I was happy to pick it up and read on...
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Guest More than 1 year ago
if you liked 'The Joy Luck Club' you'll love this book. I devoured this book. The minute I got it I could not put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a first generation Asian-American I found this book a helpful in understanding my parents. Though they do not act as culturally radical as the mother in 'Woman Warrior' did, I came to better understand why my parents acted so differently from the parents of my American friends. I came to appreciate the changes they had to make in their lives to accomodate my growing up in a 'foreign' nation. As far as the literary sense goes, this book scores lower. I does jump around a bit. For those who don't live in 'two worlds' it may be more difficult for you to understand this book. It may not have as great an impact.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston, captures readers with her own interpretation of what it was like to grow up as a female Chinese American. As a little girl, she came to America with her family. Despite being in a new country, she had to deal with the old traditions from her homeland. Kingston hears different legends which she pieces together to create her woman warrior. It becomes her source of strength in a society that rejected both her sex as well as her race. The book, divided into five interwoven stories, is at times confusing as it jumps around. Nevertheless she does a great job explaining her life while growing up. The first story, called 'No Name Woman,' tells of her paternal aunt who bears a child out of wedlock and is harried by the villagers and by her family into drowning herself. The family now punishes this taboo-breaker by never speaking about her and by denying her name. However, Kingston breaks the family silence by writing about this rebel whom she calls 'my forebear.' The next story is called 'White Tigers.' It is a myth about a heroine named Fa Mu Lan, who fights in place of her father and saves her village. This story became the Disney movie, Mulan. 'Sharman' is a story of Kingston's mother. It explores what it was like to study as a woman to become a doctor in China. 'At the Western Palace' is about Kingston's aunt who comes to America and discovers that her husband has remarried in America. Finally, the last story, 'A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe' is about Kingston's own experience in America when she first arrived. She explains what it was like to be a newcomer in a strange culture. Kingston constantly mentions that her friends and she are ghosts because they are American. All of the people who surround her family are ghosts, except for the Chinese people who live on the Gold Mountain, a section of Chinatown in San Francisco. Kingston feels like a ghost herself, ' ¿. We had been born among ghosts, were taught by ghosts, and were ourselves ghost-like. The Americans call us a kind of ghosts' (p.183). The interpretation of what ghosts mean in this book is difficult to figure out. It could show how some people view a person from a different culture with ignorance as if she doesn't exist. Kingston's The Woman Warrior has some similarities with The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. First of all, both stories are written by Chinese American authors about their cultural heritage. Both novels deal with major concerns faced by Chinese American women. Living with their traditional culture in American society, Chinese-American women suffer problems of cultural conflicts. However, there are differences that make each work distinct. The Joy Luck Club is fiction and is not personal. It is also more likely to be read for pleasure. The Woman Warrior portrays a first hand view of the cultural differences between the United States and China. Also, Kingston succeeds in combining her emotions with her experiences. The Woman Warrior is a fascinating book. One of the most amazing aspects of this book is Kingston's ability to show how silence is a form of communication and how it shaped her being. Her mother tells her to be silent, yet she goes against her cultural standards by talking about her aunt. This act of will on Kingston's part offers the readers her ancestry. The expectation of silence can be simplified into a symbol of oppression. As a Korean-American, I felt the emotions and understood how Kingston felt for being a stranger to a new culture. Her internal struggle to fit into two different societies is difficult. I personally recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about the experience of one Chinese-American woman. It is not the definitive story of Chinese-American women's experience, but it is a very vivid and well-written account of one woman's life. Pg. 209. Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York
Guest More than 1 year ago
The second book I've read by Kingston, the Woman Warrior is consistent with her theme of cultural clash experienced by Chinese in America. A book that is popularly misunderstood appealed to me in many ways. With a plot being far from linear, it was easy to lose my way when trying keep the characters straight. I later found this strongly emphasized each of the characters' conflicts with their surroundings. A harsh way of telling Chinese traditions of old, but an enlightening truth about the oppression of women and their stuggles with trying to fit their Chinese culture and their American culture together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From knowing nothing about the Chinese culture, to understanding it a bit better. This book has cute and interesting folktales. I enjoyed the parts where the cultural beliefs are questioned. It brings out the fact that when the culture is so rich, it's really hard not to get confused. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who knows either nothing or alot about the culture.