The Woman Warrior

by

Maxine Hong Kingston

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Pee-Ah-Nah Character Analysis

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 as “a witchwoman,” Pee-Ah-Nah picks in the same “slough,” or swamp, where Brave Orchid and the children go to pick orange berries. She gets her name due to being old and in the habit of “riding to the slough with a broom between her legs.” She also “powdered one cheek red and one white” and “wore a pointed hat and layers of capes, shawls, [and] sweaters buttoned at the throat like capes, the sleeves flying behind like sausage skins.” The children are in the habit of running away from her, believing that, like a witch, she is chasing them. Other children say that she will boil them or tear them apart if she catches them. One day, they no longer see her. Kingston assumes that she has been “locked up in the crazyhouse too.”
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Pee-Ah-Nah Character Timeline in The Woman Warrior

The timeline below shows where the character Pee-Ah-Nah appears in The Woman Warrior. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
5. A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe
Storytelling and Identity Theme Icon
Silence vs. Speech Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience  Theme Icon
...in the crazyhouse” and never released. Finally, there was the woman Kingston’s brother had named Pee-Ah-Nah, who picked for orange berries in the “slough” (swamp) along with Kingston, her mother, and... (full context)