Anne Fadiman · 341 pages
Rating: (54.2K votes)
“I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in these places, and often, if you stand at the point of tangency, you can see both sides better than if you were in the middle of either one.”
“The action most worth watching is not at the center of things, but where edges meet.”
“The Hmong have a phrase, hais cuaj txub kaum txub, which means “to speak of all kinds of things.” It is often used at the beginning of an oral narrative as a way of reminding the listeners that the world is full of things that may not seem to be connected but actually are; that no event occurs in isolation; that you can miss a lot by sticking to the point; and that the storyteller is likely to be rather long-winded.”
“If the soul cannot find its jacket. it is condemned to an eternity of wandering--naked and alone”
“You can miss a lot by sticking to the point.”
“Our view of reality is only a view, not reality itself.”
“If you can’t see that your own culture has its own set of interests, emotions, and biases, how can you expect to deal successfully with someone else’s culture?”
“So, if you're a doctor, how can you recognize that you're having a feeling? Some tips from Dr. Zinn:
Most emotions have physical counterparts. Anxiety may be associated with a tightness of the abdomen or excessive diaphoresis; anger may be manifested by a generalized muscle tightness or a clenching of the jaw; sexual arousal may be noted by a tingling of the loins or piloerection; and sadness may be felt by conjunctival injection or heaviness of the chest.”
“Timothy Dunnigan: The kinds of metaphorical language that we use to describe the Hmong say far more about us, and our attachment to our own frame of reference, than they do about the Hmong.”
“You go from the north of Laos and then you go across the Mekong, and when the Pathet Lao soldiers fire, you do not think about your family, just yourself only. When you are on the other side, you will not be like what you were before ou get through the Mekong. On the other side you cannot say to your wife, I love you more than my life. She saw! You cannot say that anymore! And when you try to restick this thing together is is like putting glue on a broken glass.”
“The Hmong never had any interest in ruling over the Chinese or anyone else; they wanted merely to be left alone, which, as their later history was also to illustrate, may be the most difficult request any minority can make of a majority culture.”
“You know Anne,' he said quietly, 'when I am with a Hmong or a French or an American person, I am always the one who laughs last at a joke. I am the chameleon animal. You can place me anyplace, and I will survive, but I will not belong. I must tell you that I do not really belong anywhere.”
“I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet.”
“I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in these places, and often, if you stand at the point of tangency, you can see both sides better than if you were in the middle of either one. This is especially true, I think, when the apposition is cultural.”
“It is well known that involuntary migrants, no matter what pot they are thrown into, tend not to melt.”
“In Laos, a baby was never apart from its mother, sleeping in her arms all night and riding on her back all day. Small children were rarely abused; it was believed that a dab who witnessed mistreatment might take the child, assuming it was not wanted. The Hmong who live in the United States have continued to be unusually attentive parents. A study conducted at the University of Minnesota found Hmong infants in the first month of life to be less irritable and more securely attached to their mothers than Caucasian infants, a difference the researcher attributed to the fact that the Hmong mothers were, without exception, more sensitive, more accepting, and more responsive, as well as “exquisitely attuned” to their children’s signals. Another study, conducted in Portland, Oregon, found that Hmong mothers held and touched their babies far more frequently than Caucasian mothers. In a third study, conducted at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota, a group of Hmong mothers of toddlers surpassed a group of Caucasian mothers of similar socioeconomic status in every one of fourteen categories selected from the Egeland Mother-Child Rating Scale, ranging from “Speed of Responsiveness to Fussing and Crying” to “Delight.”
“Cultural humility” acknowledges that doctors bring the baggage of their own cultures—their own ethnic backgrounds along with the culture of medicine—to the patient’s bedside, and that these may not necessarily be superior.”
“In Minneapolis, tires were slashed and windows smashed. A high school student getting off a bus was hit in the face and told to “go back to China.” A woman was kicked in the thighs, face, and kidneys, and her purse, which contained the family’s entire savings of $400, was stolen; afterwards, she forbade her children to play outdoors, and her husband, who had once commanded a fifty-man unit in the Armée Clandestine, stayed home to guard the family’s belongings. In Providence, children walking home from school were beaten. In Missoula, teenagers were stoned. In Milwaukee, garden plots were vandalized and a car was set on fire. In Eureka, California, two burning crosses were placed on a family’s front lawn. In a random act of violence near Springfield, Illinois, a twelve-year-old boy was shot and killed by three men who forced his family’s car off Interstate 55 and demanded money. His father told a reporter, “In a war, you know who your enemies are. Here, you don’t know if the person walking up to you will hurt you.”
“Every illness is not a set of pathologies but a personal story”
“During the late 1910s and early ’20s, immigrant workers at the Ford automotive plant in Dearborn, Michigan, were given free, compulsory “Americanization” classes. In addition to English lessons, there were lectures on work habits, personal hygiene, and table manners. The first sentence they memorized was “I am a good American.” During their graduation ceremony they gathered next to a gigantic wooden pot, which their teachers stirred with ten-foot ladles. The students walked through a door into the pot, wearing traditional costumes from their countries of origin and singing songs in their native languages. A few minutes later, the door in the pot opened, and the students walked out again, wearing suits and ties, waving American flags, and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“A sponsoring pastor in Minnesota told a local newspaper, “It would be wicked to just bring them over and feed and clothe them and let them go to hell. The God who made us wants them to be converted. If anyone thinks that a gospel-preaching church would bring them over and not tell them about the Lord, they’re out of their mind.”
“When Pang was barely out of toddlerhood, she zoomed in and out of the apartment unsupervised, playing with plastic bags and, on occasion, with a large butcher knife.”
“The kinds of metaphorical language that we use to describe the Hmong say far more about us, and our attachment to our own frame of reference, than they do about the Hmong.” So much for the Perambulating Postbox Theory.”
“her father had built from ax-hewn planks thatched with bamboo and grass. The floor was dirt, but it was clean. Her mother, Foua, sprinkled it regularly with”
“During the late 1910s and early ’20s, immigrant workers at the Ford automotive plant in Dearborn, Michigan, were given free, compulsory “Americanization” classes. In addition to English lessons, there were lectures on work habits, personal hygiene, and table manners. The first sentence they memorized was “I am a good American.”
“It was also true that if the Lees were still in Laos, Lia would probably have died before she was out of infancy, from a prolonged bout of untreated status epilepticus. American medicine had both preserved her life and compromised it. I was unsure which had hurt her family more.”
“Watch what you're thinking and you might just find what comes into your life.”
“I might be falling in love with you," I whisper, finding it hard to focus on his face.
"Kate," he says, almost sadly.
"what? You might be falling in love with me too?" My voice is hopeful, pathetically hopeful.
He shakes his head.
"You aren't falling in love with me?"
He doesn't respond. I touch his face carefully with the tips of my fingers. His skin is incredibly soft above the line of hard jawbone. I touch his silky black hair. His eyes close and i want to kiss his eyes, but I'm afraid. Afraid of all this. This could destroy me.
He opens his eyes. "Kate, I'm already in love with you.”
“Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion.”
“You can love someone, hell, you can love a lot of someones, but when you find the right person--the one that you're meant to be with--it's like..." "You can breathe for the first time," she finishes for me. "Yes." I cant help but smile.I needed to find that to understand." And you have," She says softly."Lucy." "Lucy," I agree.”
“I'm going to cover the whole world like it was a neighborhood, and in airplanes and raing cars, not on foot!”
BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.
We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.
Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.