EllenR. FreitagWRT 101 061Composition IFebruary2, 2016
My Defiance to Attend School
Elizabeth Wong narrates how she disliked attending Chinese classes.She was born in America, but was Chinese. As a result, her motherfelt that it was important for her to learn Chinese language. Livingin America, it was obviously difficult for Wong to behave like aChinese girl. In fact she explains that she loved everythingAmerican. Hence, she could not understand why her mother was forcingher to learn a culture or language she was not interested in. It iscommon for people to assume that everyone loves their culture.However, Wong reveals that it is not always the case, especially whenone is being forced into doing something they dislike (Wong 1).
Reading about Wong reminds me of a specific time in my childhoodwhen I defied social expectation and decided that I did not want togo to school. I always think that being a child is the best time inone’s life. It is the only time that one can get away withmistakes, cry for no reason and still manage to get the attention ofparents. Sadly, it seems to be the shortest period in one’s life.Probably because one does not even realize that they are a child, orbecause, as people say “children grow fast”. I can recall mychildhood as a happy time because it was all about play and beingaround home. But most memorable is when I had to go to school.Society expects that at a certain age one should join school andstart learning. This was among my worst moments. I guess I had becomeso used to staying at home with my parents around me.
My mother had prepared me both mentally and emotionally about what Iwas going to expect in school. It would be a new environment, withnew people and a teacher, and I would not be around, she said. Ithought I had it all figured out, it would only be for a short whileand I would be home again. But after my first day in school, I wassure that I did not want to be in there again. Just as Wong describesher Chinese classroom “the room smelled like Chinese medicine, animportant faraway mustiness. Like ancient mothballs or dirty closets”(Wong 1). It is clear that she disliked being there. Although myclassroom did not smell, in fact now I always remember it as a veryplayful environment designed for children, I did not want to bethere. It felt so different to be away from home. I was in a newplace and did not know anyone, which made me very nervous andunhappy. I spend most of my first day in school crying to go backhome.
When I went back home from school that day, I remember telling myparents that I did not want to go to back the next day. My mothertried to reassure me that all would be well, but I was so determinedto stay at home that I did not care about getting an education. Theday that followed, I knew perfectly well that mother could not allowme to have it my way. Even if it meant using force, she would do itto ensure that I went to school. I had it all planned. I still recallthat day to date and I cannot believe how clever I must have been. Iwoke up early before everybody else, and hid in the laundry room. Iknew that if anyone was to look for me, it would be the last placethey would check.
My intention was that by the time I came out of my hiding place, itwould be too late to go to school. I remember hearing my mother callout my name as many times as she could. At first, they were probablyafraid that I had gone missing. But for some reason, mother figuredout that I was hiding so as not to go to school. She did not thinkthat I was seriously disinterested in school. After all, it is normalfor children to cry during their first day in school, after whichmany get used to the environment and begin to like it. But I guess Iwas one of the different ones. I simply wanted to stay at home for aslong as I could. It was better being at home, just playing with mytoys, eating and sleeping.
Mother finally gave up calling my name, and it was then that Idecided to come out of my hiding place. It must have been a lucky dayfor me because by then I was late for school. Also, mother hadalready called the school to explain that I would not be going toschool. When she saw me, she was furious and could not help butshout. I simply responded by telling her that I did not want to be inschool. For the entire week I stayed at home, and I was so elated.However, after that I had to go to school, even when it necessitatedforce.
Wong, Elizabeth. The Struggle to Be an All American Girl, byElizabeth Wong, n.d. <http://www.oakton.edu/user/0/bcrocket/Old%20files.English%20101/wongessay.pdf>