In the Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, qualities portrayed by various characters represent the same qualities necessary in a woman warrior. Brave Orchid and the Quiet Girl serve as foils to each other to help distinguish individual distinct traits. The qualities of a woman warrior are independence, mental strength, and to have an assertive personality. The true definition of a woman warrior is displayed throughout the stories of Brave Orchid and the Quiet Girl.
Independence is a large part of being a woman warrior. The Quiet Girl never has a chance to gain control of her own life being as it is that she always remains under supervision. She is constantly protected as "their parents kept the older daughter back to protect the younger one." But to stretch that protection, "The parents of the quiet girl, on the other hand, protected both daughters." She is not independent and is not capable of simply making friends or even speaking on her own.
Brave Orchid on the other hand expresses a self-reliant character. After years without her husband, she decides to become a doctor, which breaks the cultural expectations of Chinese women. It was explained, at her return to the village, " She had gone away ordinary and come back miraculous..." It shows her independent nature how she pushes away from the precedent of female occupations.
An assertive personality and sense of direction and purpose is needed in a woman warrior. The Quiet Girl avoids confrontations and challenges, which displays a passive personality. She wouldn't even bother to attempt a swing at bat in baseball as Maxine explains, "When the kids said 'Automatic walk,' the girl who was quieter than I kneeled with one end of the bat in each hand and placed it carefully on the plate." This shows...