The Woman Warrior


Maxine Hong Kingston

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Maxine Hong Kingston

The author and the narrator of The Woman Warrior, Kingston was the eldest of six children, though she believes that her mother had two more children—a son and a daughter—who died in China. Kingston… read analysis of Maxine Hong Kingston

Brave Orchid

Kingston’s mother and Moon Orchid’s sister. Brave Orchid is a strong, resilient woman and “a champion talker” who immigrated to the United States from Canton province in January 1940 after her husband, who had… read analysis of Brave Orchid

Fa Mu Lan

Also known as “the woman warrior” (and familiar in Western popular culture as “Mulan”), legend has it that she replaced her father in battle and saved her village from a greedy baron. Kingston imagines… read analysis of Fa Mu Lan

Moon Orchid

Brave Orchid’s sister, who arrives in the United States after spending years living in Hong Kong. Moon Orchid differs from her sister, who is only one year older than she, in that she is… read analysis of Moon Orchid

No Name Woman

Kingston’s dead aunt and her father’s sister. Brave Orchid tells Kingston about her aunt but warns her that she “must not tell anyone.” No Name Woman had been married to a husband who… read analysis of No Name Woman
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Old Man and Old Woman

When reimagining herself as the woman warrior, Fa Mu Lan, Kingston creates a “talk-story” in which she is trained by an old couple to be a warrior who will avenge her village against an… read analysis of Old Man and Old Woman

Sitting Ghost

The most significant ghost among all of the ghosts that Kingston and Brave Orchid enumerate. Sitting Ghost, also called “Boulder,” first visits Brave Orchid when she is in medical school. It is the only “ghost”… read analysis of Sitting Ghost


Also referred to as Brave Orchid’s husband. He is usually discussed in relation to the women in his life—Kingston, who is his eldest living daughter, Brave Orchid, and his unmentionable sister… read analysis of Father

The Slave Girl

– A sixteen-year-old girl Brave Orchid bought from Canton market shortly after she became a doctor. Brave Orchid recalls that the girl had a “strong heart” which “sounded like thunder within the earth, sending… read analysis of The Slave Girl

Moon Orchid’s Daughter

Brave Orchid’s niece and Kingston’s cousin, she lives in Los Angeles with her own husband and children, but she stays with her aunt and cousins while they await Moon Orchid’s arrival to… read analysis of Moon Orchid’s Daughter

Moon Orchid’s Husband

A doctor in Los Angeles when Brave Orchid and Moon Orchid find him. He left Moon Orchid in China but continued to support her and their daughter financially. He has remarried a younger woman who… read analysis of Moon Orchid’s Husband

The Baron

– In her fantasy as Fa Mu Lan, the baron is an evil lord who has seized control of Kingston’s / Fa Mu Lan’s village. He hoards all of the villagers’ food and… read analysis of The Baron

The Quiet Girl

– A sixth-grade classmate of Kingston’s and a fellow Chinese-American girl who will not speak. Kingston bullies her into talking by calling her a “sissy-girl” and pinching her cheek. The girl has the ability… read analysis of The Quiet Girl

The Woman Next Door

One of the people that Kingston mentions to illustrate her point that speech makes “the difference between sanity and insanity.” The woman next door had a husband had “bought her and married her” in China… read analysis of The Woman Next Door

Crazy Mary

– Another neighbor from a family of Christian converts who sent for her in China after they had earned enough money in California. By the time she arrived, nearly twenty years old, she was… read analysis of Crazy Mary


A third woman from their community who is both mentally ill and homeless. Kingston distinguishes her from the other “crazy ladies” in their neighborhood, for this one qualified as a “village idiot.” Also referred to… read analysis of Pee-Ah-Nah

The Hulk

A “mentally retarded boy” from Kingston’s Chinese school who spends time at the laundry and follows Kingston around at school. He also carries around bags of toys to hand out to “certain children,” supposedly… read analysis of The Hulk

The Village Crazy Lady

A madwoman from Brave Orchid’s village who was stoned to death because the villagers thought that she was a Japanese spy. During air raids, she wore an elaborate red headdress with mirrors and flailed… read analysis of The Village Crazy Lady

Brave Orchid’s Son / Kingston’s Brother

Brave Orchid’s eldest son and Kingston’s brother. He is assigned the tasks of driving his mother, Moon Orchid, and Moon Orchid’s daughter to Los Angeles to confront Moon Orchid’s husband. He… read analysis of Brave Orchid’s Son / Kingston’s Brother
Minor Characters
Fa Mu Lan’s Husband
A childhood friend with a beautiful face, according to Kingston’s description, with whom she / Fa Mu Lan reunites shortly before going into battle. He fights alongside her, and they have a son together.