The Ghosts of The Woman Warrior
In Maxine Hong Kingston's novel, The Woman Warrior, Kingston touches upon several aspects of life common to all. Her experiences as a child were illustrated through this book. People not of the Chinese culture were seen as ghosts in this child's world. The similarities between Kingston's childhood, and the reader's help make this novel universally readable. The images created by Kinston, and the parallels between her life and others justify the creation of The Woman Warrior.
When writing an autobiography, it is the goal of the author to point out the lessons of her life to others. While the lessons expressed are not always unique, each has its purpose. Parent child differences are common; caused by changing times and beliefs. Kingston not only had to deal with the generation gap, but she had to deal with the dissimilar Chinese and American mindset and traditions. Kingston often explained in detail how her mother acts in certain situations. Maxine often felt embarrassed by her mom; when they received a wrong prescription, her mother wanted retribution from the pharmacist. It would be complex for Maxine to explain the situation to the store clerk, who would not understand. As a child such a situation is confusing, explaining to mom will not help, she is not American. Those who have not encountered a similar situation can still correlate the predicament the one's experiences.
Telling stories is a tradition of many cultures. Parents tell of a mystical event, or sometimes of a person. Knowing the history of one's ancestors is important. As a whole, people are always making mistakes; to correct them the error must be remembered so that the same act is not repeated. "She could not have been pregnant, you see, because her husband has been gone for years."(1) In the No Name Woman story, her mother told of the aunt who had been disowned from the family. The story stayed in Maxine's memory for years until she began to grasp the underlying meanings of that tale. Kingston's mother also told of her life and ancestors. These stories had two key purposes: to teach Maxine the mistakes of her forebears, and to illustrate the culture that she comes from. Maxine's mother wanted her to be aware of their Chinese roots, and to be proud of her heritage.
Those displaced, out of place, stay within their circle; a group of the same people. Because people remain with their kind, outsiders are seen as ghosts, and those ghosts see them in the same light, as alien. Facing uncertainty is handled differently by each person. Certain people like Brave Orchid handle the change well. Her sister, Moon...