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Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan - Essay Example

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The essay "Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan" describes that Tan’s opening statements, revealing her personal experience with these tests, reveal that they are difficult enough when one is relatively fluent in the language while her experiences with her mother provide the understanding that the language is an even greater barrier for the older woman.  …
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Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan
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"Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan"

Download file to see previous pages The opening remark Amy Tan makes at the beginning of her short story “Mother Tongue” adds to her credibility as a narrator because she reveals that she is giving the reader her story, and not trying to inform or teach us.  Since Tan is giving her opinion, her experience gives us confidence that she knows what she is talking about on the subject as each person is believed to be entitled to his or her own opinion.  This opening statement gives the reader confidence in the author because the essay is presented from a layperson’s personal point of view which is rarely questioned for hard fact. Tan provides the reader with some background information to begin the story.  This information includes the idea that she is a reader who is “fascinated by language… the way it can evoke a simple truth”.  Her truth in this essay is that there are many forms of so-called “broken” English, but they are only considered broken because they are unable to reveal a speaker’s “… intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts”.  This is brought into the subjective experience of the speaker because she is speaking directly about what she experienced through her mother’s frustration in trying to express herself as effectively in English as she was able to do in Chinese. In realizing her mother’s inability to communicate certain things in English, Tan realizes that there are certain things that can never be revealed whether in English or any other language. Her credibility is increased through the comments she includes regarding the aptitude tests that many immigrants are given when they select their career fields.  This is a step that other citizens are not expected to complete before entering a field of work, but it presents a barrier to the immigrants’ entering the field because of this frustrating inability to express themselves as clearly in English as they are able to in their native language.  Tan’s opening statements, revealing her personal experience with these tests, reveal that they are difficult enough when one is relatively fluent in the language while her experiences with her mother provide the understanding that the language is an even greater barrier for the older woman.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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