Kingston writes almost exclusively of her family in The Woman Warrior. She focuses most of all on her mother Brave Orchid, from whom she learned the tradition of talk story. Kingston spends most of her time analyzing the dynamic between female roles in the family: mother/daughter, aunt/niece, etc. The author offers thoughts on what it means to be a part of a family and what kinds of stories and debts are passed down from one generation to another.
Kingston shows that family is more significant than romance through the love Brave Orchid demonstrates for Moon Orchid versus the embarrassment the doctor-husband shows toward Moon Orchid.
Kingston's main frustration in The Woman Warrior is her inability to communicate with her mother on her terms. The book, as a composite of talk story, is written as an attempt to bridge her mom's stories with her own.