Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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About the author In 1940, a person by the name of Maxine Hong Kingston was born. She was the daughter of Chinese immigrants who operated a gambling house in Stockton, California. The first of six children born in America, and like many other Chinese immigrant children, her childhood consisted of long, hard labor working in the family laundry business alongside her siblings ( ). She grew up listening to the stories of other immigrants and later used the information in her own writing. Kingston was a gifted student and attended public schools. Because of her talent, she received eleven scholarships, allowing her to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley. She began her studies as an engineering major but changed to English literature. In 1962, she graduated with a bachelor's degree and in November of that same year she married a man she had met in school, Earll Kingston, an actor (

Kingston earned a teaching certificate in California and taught high school there for a year. In 1967 the Kingston's moved to Hawaii where she taught over the next ten years.

In 1976 while teaching at a private high school in Hawaii, she published her first book The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts; it became a big success. This book combined autobiography and fiction to tell the story of a girl born of Chinese immigrant parents growing up in America during the 1950s ( The Woman Warrior is also filled with stories about earlier generations of Chinese women, their tragic lives in the extremely male-dominated society of China, and her attempts to break away from their traditional image. The Woman Warrior became a bestseller and received the National Book Critic's Circle Award. It is often taught in high schools and colleges across the country. Kingston's...