The Woman Warrior
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"That's what Chinese say. We like to say the opposite" (5.178).
Kingston's frustration with Brave Orchid's words here is one moment of many where language gets in the way of communicating the truth.
The throat pain always returns, though, unless I tell what I really think, whether or not I lose my job, or spit out gaucheries all over a party (5.184).
The longing to share her personal truths manifests itself as a physical pain in Kingston.
Then, out of Ts'ai Yen's tent, which was apart from the others, the barbarians heard a woman's voice singing, as if to her babies, a song so high and clear, it matched the flutes. Ts'ai Yen sang about China and her family there. Her words seemed to be Chinese, but the barbarians understood their sadness and anger. Sometimes they thought they could catch barbarian phrases about forever wandering (5.197).
In this closing passage, Kingston suggests that art communicates feeling that works on a level beyond language.