Little Bee (The Other Hand)
How we cite our quotes:
I made myself undesirable. I declined to wash, and I let my skin grow oily. Under my clothes I wound a wide strip of cotton around my chest, to make my breasts small and flat. (1.37)
Little Bee hides her beauty and femininity to avoid being raped, which seems to be a distinct possibility in the detention center.
Because this is what I did that place, to remind myself I was alive underneath everything: under my steel toe caps I wore bright red nail varnish. (1.32)
Little Bee's toe painting is a means of preserving the identity that is being destroyed by her experiences over the past two years in the detention center. This touch also hints at her yearnings for normal teenage girl experiences.
And this woman they released from the immigration detention center, this creature that I am, she is a new breed if human. There is nothing natural about me. I was born – no, I was reborn – in captivity. (1.34)
These lines suggest that Little Bee feels negatively transformed by the detention center process, and by the experience of being locked up for two years, never seeing the outside world (we don't blame her). She feels freakish and unnatural, as if she's the product of some bizarre experiment.