Important Quotations Explained
removes the live chicks first, placing them in her apron . . . there
is calm efficiency in her face and she does not speak. Her eyes
are steady and matter-of-fact—the eyes of Japanese motherhood. They
do not invade and betray. They are eyes that protect, shielding
what is hidden most deeply in the heart of the child.
2. We must
always honor the wishes of others before our own. We will make the
way smooth by restraining emotion . . . To try to meet one’s own
needs in spite of the wishes of others is to be “wagamama”—selfish
and inconsiderate . . . It is such a tangle trying to decipher the
needs and intents of others.
3. Aunt Emily,
are you a surgeon cutting at my scalp with your folders and your
filing cards and your insistence on knowing all? The memory drains
down the side of my face, but it isn’t enough, is it? It’s your
hands . . . pulling the growth from the lining of my walls, but
bring back the anesthetist turn on the ether clamp down the gas
and bring on the chloroform . . .
4. And then
it’s cold . . . the skin . . . grows red and hard and itchy from
the flap flap of the boots and the fine hairs on my legs grow coarse
there and ugly.
I mind growing ugly.
. . . does not dance to the multicultural piper’s tune or respond
to the racist’s slur. She remains in a silent territory, defined
by her serving hands. She serves us now, pouring tea into Mr. Barker’s
cup. She is unable to see and stops halfway before the cup is full.
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