| Quote #1
"This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions." And she waited, year after year, for the day she could tell her daughter this in perfect American English. (I.Prologue.4)
There is a language gap between mother and daughter. In order to get her daughter to understand all of her love and intentions, the mother needs to wait and communicate in her daughter’s language…which might never happen.
| Quote #2
"It’s not showoff." She said the two soups were almost the same, chabudwo. Or maybe she said butong, not the same thing at all. It was one of those Chinese expressions that means the better half of mixed intentions. I can never remember things I didn’t understand in the first place. (I.1.6)
Jing-mei doesn’t understand her mother, and therefore cannot remember her mother’s intended meanings of some conversations.
| Quote #3
These kinds of explanations made me feel my mother and I spoke two different languages, which we did. I talked to her in English, she answered back in Chinese. (I.1.84)
Is the largest problem here that they are literally speaking different languages or that they just don’t understand each other, maybe because of cultural barriers?