A Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe

I think out of all the sections in the book, this one was the most interesting to read. The whole “madness” and “silence” idea is ever prominent in this section. One thing I did not understand is Maxine’s motive for torturing the quiet girl in her class.That poor girl. I wonder if Maxine did it because she wanted to be the only quiet girl? I don’t know.I just don’t get it. That part really made me not like her character, even more than I already did.

I think the whole “madness” issue has to deal to Maxine as a first generation Chinese American. On one hand she wants to adopt and enjoy the values of a typical American lifestyle, but at the same time she is pressured to preserve and practice traditions from her Chinese heritage. To even attempt to make a connection or find middle ground in these two cultures has got to cause a least a little bit of madness.  For example, Maxine’s parents desire to betroth her to a newly- Americanized Chinese man. Maxine responds to this with even more eccentric behavior,and perhaps even signifies Maxine’s fear about her future.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Maxine finds “Crazy Mary”  and the mentally challenged boy so interesting. Maybe she writes about them because she can relate to them since she sees herself as a “crazy” person.

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