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Flora's picture

finding a commonality between truong, stein and bao

In this part of the Book of Salt, Bao is reflecting on the fact that his employers have always complained that their servants do not learn to speak better French. They often view this failure as a lack of ability. Bao rejects their theory, saying

"I now suspect that this is a topic of discussion for the ruling class everywhere. So enamored of their differences, language and otherwise, they have lost the instinctual ability to detect the defiance of those who serve them."

Here Bao claims that he and his peers consciously misuse the language of their employers as a form of resistance. Stein uses language in a similar way. By disrupting the structures of english, she hopes to make a new space in a social system. So, perhaps truong's response to stein is more complex than a rejection of literary style. Their purposes may be aligned despite their differences in social criticisms.


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