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The Warrior Woman


The Warrior Woman
In the novel, Maxine Hong Kingston is initially a woman warrior, and later on becomes a warrior woman. A woman warrior is an individual who fights for the rights of women and could be of either gender that is either male or female. A warrior woman on the other hand is a woman who is an expert in warfare and uses this to defend her community or tribe against external forces. In a non-literal sense, a warrior woman is also a woman who shows great courage and diligence in a particular field, particularly one that is challenging or male-dominated such as politics.
Maxine Hong Kingston is the woman warrior in this story because she uses the five examples to show the place of women in Chinese society and her challenges growing up as a Chinese-American woman. In the novel, Kingston narrates the story of five women who include the No-Name Woman, Fa Mu Lan, Brave Orchid, Moon Orchid and Kingston herself. Kingston uses the women in this novel to illustrate the role of women in traditional and modern society, and how the women interacted in the male-dominated society (Kingston 53). Kingston is the woman warrior because she uses this memoir to highlight her issues as a woman and those of other woman like herself.
The No-Name Woman is an example of a woman who suffers because of not meeting the moral expectations that are expected of a woman in traditional Chinese society. The society considers women as useless and as such, the author guesses that the baby that the No-name Woman gave birth to must have been a girl, and that is why the mother wanted to spare her the misery of growing up in a repressive society.
In the novel, the warrior women are Fa Mu Lan and Brave orchid. Fa Mu Lan is a Chinese myth of a woman who fights in her father’s place (Kingston 12). Fa Mu Lan is the real female warrior because she embodies all the characteristics that a woman should have according to the author; tough and assertive yet warm and gentle. In Kingston’s fantasies, she wants to be as fierce as Fa Mu Lan, yet in real life, she is unable to assert herself and meet her challenges adequately. Her self-esteem has been shaken because she is heavily discriminated against for her race and gender. This makes her timid and unassertive and even when she tries to claim her rights and speak to her bosses about the racial discrimination, she is fired (Kingston 97).
Brave Orchid, Kingston’s mother is a woman warrior because she portrays strength, wiliness and assertiveness. Despite the negative traditional perceptions, the Chinese community holds about women, Brave Orchid has managed to make a name for herself as a doctor. Her bravery is seen when she threatens to hit her sister’s husband and when she gets rid of the sitting ghost. Brave Orchid however is also an enemy to the women as she also gives the author the perception that woman are useless in the Chinese community and thus one has to be outstanding and brave in order to be recognized. She tells the author the story of the No-Name Woman and warns her sternly not to tell anyone about it; she believes that the No-Name Woman deserved the punishment she got because she acted out of the Chinese culture, which in fact was repressive towards women (Kingston 119).
Kingston emerges as a warrior eventually when she realizes that she can stand up for herself like a warrior through her words and her writing. She is also a warrior because through her memoir, she fights for the rights of the women who are oppressed by cultures and societal expectations. Whereas before she was scared to talk to her mother, she deals with her fears and even confronts her bravely about her negative attitudes towards women.
Works Cited
Kingston, Maxine. The woman warrior: memoirs of a girlhood among ghosts. New York, NY: Knopf, 1994. Print.

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