Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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This essay is to compare and contrast two stories from the book Encountering Cultures. Kit Yuen Quan calls the first story, " The Girl Who Wouldn't Sing," and Grace Paley calls the second story, "The loudest Voice." The first story is about a family from China arriving to the United States and not knowing the language very well it's making it harder for them to adjust to their new environment. Kit Quan is a young girl that is fortunate enough to speak English very well without a heavy accent unlike her parents. The first time she arrived to the United State she was only five years old and the only words she knew in English was the alphabet and a few other simple words. For many years she would sit in the classroom without understanding what her teacher was trying to teach her. She would cry to one of her classmate to help her with her vocabulary.

She was always the little girl with two other classmate that were very shy and were very afraid to participate in any events or class project because she couldn't speak the language very well at the beginning. As Kit was growing up it was very traumatizing of her because she couldn't do what the other kids were doing because of her being so afraid. As she quote in her book she went into a " survivor mode" and she couldn't participate in any events and activities.

It was very difficult for her to make people understand that she had some problem with the language because some people don't understand her background. For her learning new things was very hard because she had to learn new words and writing which those things use to terrified her when she was growing up. In her house it was a different story because she had to speak her language in order for her parents to understand her more. She had to hide to her parents that problem she was having in school because for her parents she was a very lucky for attending school in America. For her it was even difficult not to forget her language and adapt to the traditions and culture that Americans have and her culture. She had to hear her parents were being mistreated and discriminated but they didn't wanted to go back to their country. They were mistreated because they couldn't speak fluent English but they were satisfied that their kids were getting a good education and good grade. Things started to improve after she determines that she had to learn the language. In her school she was having problem because of her language and in her house she having problem because she was being rebellion and things got worse after she told her parents she was a lesbian. In the end of the story she learn that it's has taken her twenty years to understand her language and to help herself learn new things in life.

The second story is called, "The Loudest Voice" it about a Jewish little girl named Shirley Abramowitz. Unlike Kit Quan she lived in the United States and didn't have any problem with the language. Shirley Abramowitz was a very good student and very active in her classroom. She knew every body in her classroom and to her teachers she was know as the girl with the loudest voice because she likes to speak up. Shirley was the teacher favorite because she was always ready to help every body that needs it her help. Her parents were very supported of everything she would decide or do. One of the things her parents were supported was that she wanted to be in a school play but the play was about Christmas but the ironic was the Shirley was Jewish and Christmas is a catholic religion. At the beginning her mother was very surprise that her daughter wanted to be in Christmas play, but her father was very supported of her daughter desire to be in the play. He tells his wife that they are in America now and that she should be a little more open minded. But all of her neighbors were against of their kids participating in the school play. In the end of the story she was part of the Christmas play and it was a success. She realized that at the end of the story her voice was the loudest one of all.

In comparison and contrast of the story both girls had a little problem in school. Kit problem was that she couldn't speak English fluently and Shirley problem was that she wanted to be in school play but it was kind of difficult for her because she was from a different religion. In comparing both stories both girls had in some way the support of their parents in a different way.

In conclusion, both stories were very interesting and it shows how people have difficulties in this country for language and religion.