“I glanced at the symbols- clusters of straight lines of different lengths, inclined in every possible direction, and often crossed at some point by one or more S-shaped lines. The told the Ina creation myth. “Iosif told me a little about this,” I said. “It’s an Ina myth or legend. The goddess who made us sent us here so that we could grow strong and wide, and then prove ourselves by finding out way back home to her” (Butler 187)
This passage is the moment that opens chapter 18, where Shori figures out that she can in fact read and speak in Ina. In the beginning of the chapter she is surprised. The passage really seems to allow Shori to identify with her heritage, and it provides some insight about herself as well. She is more knowledgeable than she thought before. For example, as the passage progresses, she mentions that Iosif had told her this story before. Like the idea of storytelling, she unravels more about the story and with her skepticism at first to whether people believe the myth, the readers are introduced to the history.
On the following page, the book introduces a religious aspect to the novel kind of like it being a scripture. Hayden’s explanation is reminiscent of describing The Ten Commandments which were also written on “clay tablets” (188). The importance of this historical background gives an emphasis to what writing as a whole can do. It can teach and also provide insight. With that said, we as readers are also provided a chance to learn, like Shori, how our history links to the Ina heritage.By Hayden giving her the book and explaining further the history, Shori found out she can read and speak Ina, she learned more about the Ina history, and how that history can affect her actions. The passage reminds us that sometimes we need history to ground us in the present or in writing. Shori’s reaction to Hayden’s explanation on page 190 also shows us that we all are also affected by history and must keep that in mind. Writing and storytelling is a tool to document history and knowledge, and we see how it gives Shori a better view of her families and how it affects Hayden.