Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among the Ghosts (1976) weaves together elements from traditional Chinese folktales and incidents from the author’s experiences or family stories in five interconnected chapters. These chapters follow the lives of several women while they lived in China and/or after immigration to the United States: Kingston, her mother Brave Orchid, and her aunts, Moon Orchid and No Name Woman. Kingston, a first-generation Chinese-American, was born in Stockton, California, in 1940. The book uses recurring consideration of voices, stories, and ghosts to develop its various themes, including the transmission of culture across generations and the importance of gender and memory to the immigrant experience. The Woman Warrior won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of the top nonfiction books of the 1970s by Time. This source set includes photographs and other items useful for exploring the book’s context, contents, and impact.
Additional resources for research
- “Stockton-born Maxine Hong Kingston Receives National Medal of Arts,” KQED.
- Jess Row, “The Woman Warrior at 30,” Slate.
- Bill Moyers Interview with Maxine Hong Kingston, 2007, PBS.