Maxine Hong Kingston (born Maxine Ting Ting Hong) is a first generation Chinese-American and The Warrior Woman is her attempt to fight the cultural and historic traditions that influence her search for her own identity. It is autobiographical and steeped in Chinese mythology and the lessons which the females in the Hong family learnt the hard way. Kingston discovers many shocking truths about her own family and her heritage which she refuses to accept as part of her culture because it can never be acceptable for men to treat women badly and never have to face the consequences of their actions. "You must not tell anyone" are the words of Kingston's mother at the beginning of the book and this prepares the reader for the frustrations and almost impenetrable world that Kingston seeks to expose. She rebels by doing exactly what her mother warned her against by telling others and by effectively giving the women of her family and other "nameless" Chinese women a voice.
Kingston thinks that she is unlikely to have much influence or achieve any real change as an "avenger" and while she acknowledges that "the less you struggle the less it'll hurt," this only encourages her to keep searching and it does not stop her from rebelling against the basic human rights abuses that she exposes through writing about them. it is difficult to combine an American lifestyle with the complex Chinese traditions which cloud her judgment and Kingston compares herself to Fa Mu Lan. Writing is her way of vanquishing her demons. "The reporting is the vengeance."
Kingston sees people fighting a losing battle. Girls are a burden in Chinese culture and any achievements they make have no real merit as a girl will never "turn into a boy," making her attempts appear futile. However, for Kingston, the hurt and despair she uncovers as she learns more about oppressive Chinese culture or American stereotypes (being referred to as a "chink" ) are also the things that can heal her or give her her victory. She is constantly conflicted however as there the gulf between her Chinese heritage and her Americanism is huge and uncompromising.