The Woman Warrior


Maxine Hong Kingston

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Sitting Ghost Character Analysis

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” that is fully described. The ghost is something with “many wide black mouths,” a being that is “dangerous,” “real,” and “mysterious.” Brave Orchid recalls an instance in which the ghost briefly killed her, but she “returned” to medical school, outwitting it and other ghosts—Wall Ghosts—that sought to divert her from her rightful path. She refuses to give in to Sitting Ghost, refuses to relent to the pain that it seeks to inflict and refuses even to acknowledge its power, which kills “babies” and “cowards,” but not “a strong woman.”
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Sitting Ghost Character Timeline in The Woman Warrior

The timeline below shows where the character Sitting Ghost appears in The Woman Warrior. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
3. Shaman
Storytelling and Identity Theme Icon
...something “alive” then crawled to “the foot of the bed.” She recognized it immediately: a Sitting Ghost . She fought it, but it only absorbed her energy. She knew that everyone else... (full context)
Storytelling and Identity Theme Icon
Brave Orchid told her classmates about how Sitting Ghost had “pounced” on top of her. It had no “head, no eyes, no face,” but... (full context)
Storytelling and Identity Theme Icon
Brave Orchid insisted that the danger was not over, for Sitting Ghost fattened itself at night and was listening as she spoke. Sitting Ghost was different because... (full context)