Both the locality and the language of Sze Yup are of immense significance to Kingston, as well as to her narrator-protagonist: it is the locus of her mother’s storytelling, the land whence her mother absorbed the incredible power of “talking-story” that has been inherited by Kingston and has permeated her text, the soil whose spirit has been transplanted to her birthplace in America and whose mystery has never ceased to inspire her imagination. Likewise, the Sze Yup dialect is the language that both the writer and her narrator first learned to speak (Jaggi): she “entered school speaking no English” (Talbot 12) and knowing only her parents’ native tongue, which must have been the language in which her mother “talked-story” to her.
"Imagined Locality of a Girlhood Home: A Performative Reading of Maxine Hong Kingston’s “White Tigers”,"
Tête-à-Tête: Vol. 1, Article 8.
Available at: https://repository.lsu.edu/tete_a_tete/vol1/iss1/8