Chinese and American Ghosts (Woman Warrior)

1202 words 5 pages
In the novel The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston uses ghosts to represent a battle between American and Chinese cultures. The two cultures have different views of what a ghost is. The Chinese believe the ghost spirits may be of people dead or alive. Chinese culture recognizes foreigners and unfamiliar people as ghosts because, like American ghosts, they are mysterious creatures of the unknown. Americans view ghosts as spirits of the dead that either help or haunt people. American ghosts may or may not be real. There spirits are there but physical appearance is a mystery. Chinese culture has many interpretations ghosts. One way they are seen as is people who have disgraced their family or country. An example of this in the …show more content…

Leave then. Get out you Ho Chi Kuei. Get out. I knew you were going to turn out bad. Ho Chi Kuei." American ghosts are defined as, "a disembodied soul; especially: the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness" ( The term ghost usually refers to anything truly unusual, an image, sound, smell, feeling, emotional state, or movement of objects, that represents some sort of force left over after death. The force can be that of someone who is still very much alive, also known as "Apparitions of the living." These ghosts can be people in distress or on their death bed who's spirit energy shows up at another location to say good bye. Americans visualize ghosts as roaming spirits only of the dead these spirits are unknown and cause great curiosity, and sometimes fright. Ghosts in American culture are strange and unfamiliar just as the new American environment can be to Chinese people becoming initiated with the country. Both cultures view ghosts differently but for the most part both interpretations seem to have a positive and negative ghost. A similar view that both cultures have is the ghost that haunts. An example is shown in the book when Maxine tells us, "The Chinese are always very frightened of the drowned one, whose weeping ghost, wet hair hanging and skin bloated, waits silently by the water to pull down a substitute."(16)The cultures also have