Writer, Amy Tan, in her narrative essay, “Mother Tongue,” recounts the struggles of growing up in a “broken” english household. Tan’s purpose is to bring to attention the injustices that are put upon individuals that don’t speak English as their first language. She adopts a reflective tone in order to capture the emotions of her readers.
Tan sets the stage of her essay by recalling stories that exemplify how her mother has been put down based on how she spoke. She states: “...her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts” (4). Tan realizes that just because her mother’s english isn’t perfect, it does not mean that she is not capable. This revelation from Tan exemplifies a loving tone that gives the reader overwhelming emotions.
Tan shifts to talking about the hurdles she and her mother had to overcome because of their English. She had no confidence in her mother growing up, and saw her as a “limit” and an “embarrassment”. Later in Tan’s life, she found several surveys which led her to realize that she was not alone; there were other Asian-Americans who may have shared the same struggles as her.
Tan creates a symbolic diction through the use of words like “broken”, “limited”, and “fractured”. She is very repetitive with her use of these words, although she explains how she hated when people described her mother’s english that way. Although Tan knows that the way her and her mother converse is not grammatically correct, she has grown to love it. Towards the end of her essay, her diction changes as she comes to terms with this fact.
Writer Amy Tan recalls her unforgiving childhood of growing up in a “broken” Asian-American household, and she saw how communication issues could impact one’s life profusely.
“Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan - Original
I found this essay to be very inspirational, it had a lot of good messages hidden in it. The essay was about the different forms of English...