The Qualities of the Characters in The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

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, and 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.

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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 low self-esteem and athought process that mentally prepares her for failure, resulting in evasion in attempt, However, Brave Orchid has an active personality in which she always performs beneficial actions. While she explains to Maxine about the hardships of her job, Maxine asks, “Mama, why don’t you stop working? You don’t have to work anymore. Do you? Do you really have to work like that? …’ Although Brave Orchid owns a house and relies on Social Security for money. she remains working to keep in shape and out of bore, Mental strength and the will to push for ones beliefs are the most important qualities in a Woman warrior. When the Quiet Girl Was getting attacked by Maxine and told that the attacking would cease she speaks, “She shook her head, and some hair caught in the tears; wet black hair stuck to the side of the pink and white face.

“ Even though she was told she would be freed by the simple sound of her voice, she does not have the WI” power to stop her own harassment. Brave Orchids mental strength causes her to be courageous and Willing to put mind over matter. During a confrontation With a Sitting Ghost she exclaims, “You do not belong here. And I Will see to it that you leave. When morning comes, only one of us Will control this room, Ghost, and that one will be me.'” Although startled, Brace Orchid is not too frightened to defend herself against this unworldly creature. Brave Orchid and the Quiet Girl maintain very distinct qualities and through comparison. only Brave Orchid holds the woman warrior persona, Brave Orchid is independent, leading her own life as a doctor, whereas the Quiet Girl is codependent. Brave Orchid is mentally strong and able to accept and conquer challenges, such as the sitting ghost, but the Quiet Girl, however, gives up in things such as baseball, accepting the ‘Automatic Walk.‘

Brave Orchid embraces her actively assertive personality and makes the best out of life by being one of few Chinese girls to Work. The Quiet Girl on the other hand maintains a passive personality that lets things happen how life presents it to her. For example, she made no attempt to stop the attack on her as “Sounds did come out of her mouth, sobs, chokes, n0ises that were almost words. To be a woman warrior, one must be independent and in control of her own life, mentally strong and capable of life‘s trials and tribulations, and to possesses an active personality through life and make the best of life in Whatever way possible. Brave Orchid posses all these qualities but the Quiet Girl, in contrast, possesses none.

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The Qualities of the Characters in The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. (2023, May 14). Retrieved from

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