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A Response to Kingston's Woman Warrior

Sometimes, I must admit, I look at my mother and wonder where she is coming from, what in the world she is thinking, and why does she act the way she does. I can not possibly be like her because, as I tell myself, if I catch on to her weird behavior now, I will be able to catch it in myself before it is "too late." The funny thing is that I am sure that she did and still does the same thing in regards to her own mother. What is even worse is that I see my mother becoming like her own mother, despite my mother's hopes that she is not like my grandmother. Does this, then, mean that I am going to be like my mother or that I am already like her? Why does this thought frighten me?

Kingston herself seems to be struggling with these questions as she writes The Woman Warrior. In the chapter "At the Western Palace" she is writing largely from her mother's perspective and, through this process, perhaps learning more about the way in which she behaved as a child towards her mother. Her mother frequently tries to compliment her children yet all that they do is run away, leave to go to another room. It is as if they can not be bothered by their own mother's words, the pride that she has for them. Instead of reveling in her words and love, they want to hide, to protect themselves from her words, from having to deal with her.

What must it have been like for Kingston to have to write this about herself, to realize the ways in which her words and actions have distanced herself from her mother? But then Kingston's own words continue to make the mother seem like the outsider, the one who was different from everyone else, making her mother appear again as the one who is the ghost. The children, even her own husband, merely appeared to humor her, making no effort to want to learn about the Chinese culture and therefore not caring to know about their own mother. How often have we done the same with our own mothers, not bothering to talk to her, merely humoring her because we can not be bothered to make the time to really care about what she wants?
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