Amy Tan's Mother Tongue

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Rhetorical Reading Response: Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”
In the essay “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan (1990), which discusses her mother’s way of speaking through “broken English”, Tan explores the different “Englishes” that she has come into contact with in her everyday life; these variations have presented struggles in her mother’s life. Tan illustrates this to her audience by giving examples of the struggles her mother was faced with due to “her” English and the many versions of English that surrounds Tan. Tan examines the different versions of English people use in order to make the reader realize that English takes many different forms which leads to difficulty and confusion to those who are attempting to learn and speak the language like her mother. This work of literature is directed towards those who do not have an understanding of the variations of languages and the complications that come along with trying to learn a new language like English.

Although I do not have any experience growing up in a household that used a “broken” language, I can relate to Tan’s mother. In my attempt to learn Spanish, I struggled with every aspect of trying to not only speak it but also read, write, and comprehend the language. Through the understanding that learning a new language can be like trying to navigate your way through a dense jungle, I fully believe Tan’s point was for the good. I think that too many people discriminate in many different ways against anyone that dare not use perfect English. I feel that America has a “fast food” mentality. By that I simply mean that if one little thing slightly inconveniences someone they are too quick to be mean, judge, or even be rude by saying something uncalled for or even ignoring people. For example, I work in a grocery store, and many times I have examined my coworkers and have seen a sudden attitude change when someone comes through their line and speaks a “broken” form of English. I have seen the customer fight the pain of...
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