The first chapter is called "No-Name Woman". It begins with her telling about an aunt she never knew she had. This aunt had brought disgrace to her family because she gave birth to a child that her family had never approved of. She killed herself and her baby by jumping into the family well in China. She is told the story as a warning to warn her about not doing the same thing as her aunt. However, she is never allowed to mention her aunt aloud in her family anymore, so she decides to create a history of her aunt. In one scene her aunt is a shy woman taken by a rapist. In another scene her aunt has a passion of trying to attract a man's attention by changing the way she looks. In another section of the chapter, Kingston imagines the time when her aunt's family humiliates her aunt out to everyone. Her aunt is lost in the wilderness, and when the baby comes, she has to give birth in a pig farm. She believes that her aunt decides to kill herself and her baby together in order to spare the child’s life without family or purpose. She also says that baby was probably a girl, and as such would already have been considered practically useless to society because in that era in China women were nothing. At the end of the chapter she imagines her aunt as a lonely ghosts begging for things.
The second chapter is called “White Tigers.” In the first section contains the author’s childhood fantasy of living the life of Fa Mu Lan the woman warrior who is actually her mom. In the fantasy she follows a bird up into the mountains until she comes to the hut of an old couple, who want to train her to become a great warrior. As part of her training she spends years alone on the mountain of the white tigers, not eating for days and then eating only roots and vegetables and drinking only water from melted snow. When she returns from the mountain, at the age of fourteen, her mentors teach her how to fight. Her mentors state that she is not ready until she turns twenty two. When she is ready to leave the mountain, when she has learned how to use the magical "sky sword" and is given powerful beads by the old couple, she returns to her parents and says she will fight the baron's army. Pretending to be a man, she becomes a great warrior at the head of a huge army of peasants. She defeats armies along with her husband. She eventually leads the entire population of China to overthrow the corrupt emperor and put a peasant in his place. The second part of "White Tigers" takes place in America and she is Fa Mu Lan. Kingston describes how the Chinese emigrants in America treat women as worthless and they said better geese than girls. Her own family doesn’t appreciate her getting good grades, she can’t get a job and so on.
The third chapter called “Shaman” focuses on Kingston's mother Brave Orchid and her old life back in China. Her first two children died in China so Brave Orchid decided to use the money her husband sent her