Who upset Mrs. Hiatt in No Talking and why?

Quick answer:

In No Talking, Mrs. Hiatt isn't happy with Dave Packer and Lynsey Burgess. She's upset with them because she doesn't believe that their staying silent will actually improve their behavior. Children should learn to be quiet when they're told to, not when they want to.

Expert Answers

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On the face of it, it seems pretty strange that Mrs. Hiatt, of all people, should be so strongly opposed to Dave and Lynsey's staying silent. After all, she's the one who often goes round the cafeteria with a bullhorn, telling students that they're talking too loudly. But she's not happy with what Dave and Lynsey—members of the Unshushables—are up to; not happy at all.

She expresses her concerns to the other teachers at a staff meeting. Although most of the teachers seem to think that Dave and Lynsey's silence is an absolute godsend, Mrs. Hiatt is having none of it. She says that neither sudden silence nor lots of noise is really what they want; both represent extremes of behavior.

What really bothers Mrs. Hiatt about Dave and Lynsey's antics is not so much their silence, but that they themselves have made the choice to be silent. That's not a choice that Mrs. Hiatt believes they should have. Dave and Lynsey, like all the other students in the school, need to learn how to be quiet when it's right to be quiet and how to talk at the right time. No prizes for guessing that it's Mrs. Hiatt and her members of staff who get to decide when it's the right time to talk and not talk.

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