The quote to which you refer,
"Jiro pulled the quilt over his head and stuffed the rice-hull pillow against his mouth. He couldn't let them hear him crying",
comes at the end of Chapter 2. Jiro had gone with his father to deliver a puppet to Yoshida, the Master Puppeteer. Yoshida took an interest in Jiro, and offered him a place as an apprentice in the theater at Hanji. Yoshida said that although Jiro lacked discipline, the boy had spirit. Jiro was not certain at first that he wanted to leave his home, but, after thinking about how hungry he was all the time because his family most often did not have money even for food, the potential opportunity grew more and more appealing in his mind. After supper that night, Jiro overheard his father talking about Yoshida's offer with his mother, who advised him not to take it seriously. When his father agreed that the matter was settled then, Jiro cried silently because he really did want to join the Master Puppeteer's troupe, even if it was largely just because he would always have plenty to eat (Chapter 2).