The Woman Warrior
by Maxine Hong Kingston
The Woman Warrior Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[At Chinese school] we chanted together, voices rising and falling, loud and soft, some boys shouting, everybody reading together, reciting together and not alone with one voice. When we had a memorization test, the teacher let each of us come to his desk and say the lesson to him privately, while the rest of the class practiced copying or tracing (5.38).
When the students don't feel pressured to speak at Chinese school, they have no problem speaking and working as a group. The problem Kingston seems to have with silence is not the silence itself but the stigma of it.
You can't entrust your voice to the Chinese, either; they want to capture your voice for their own use. They want to fix up your tongue to speak for them. "How much less can you sell it for?" we have to say. Talk the Sales Ghosts down. Make them take a loss (5.41).
Kingston implies that different languages have different expected uses.
I hated the younger sister, the quiet one. I hated her when she was the last chosen for her team and I, the last chosen for my team. I hated her for her China doll hair cut. I hated her at music time for the wheezes that came out of her plastic flute (5.75).
The fact that Kingston refers to the girl as "the quiet one" and draws parallels between her and the girl shows how she projects her own insecurities onto her classmate.