Analysis Paper of Mother Tongue

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March 2013

Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan
Summary:
In Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”, she narrates how her mother’s “broken” English affect her life and her career choices. She talked about the “kind of English” her and her family uses all the time. Tan mentioned her difficulties and struggles she had to deal with, when she was in school because her English wasn’t perfect. For her, learning English wasn’t easy. It wasn’t her strongest point. She was complimented with how well she does with Math and Science, but her English skill was never good enough. She even mentioned her experience dealing with people that are not taking her mother seriously because of her “limited” English. She would be on the phone, pretending to be her Mrs. Tan. Then, her mother would be in the background telling Amy what to say, and she would be the one talking using her skills in English, which is better English than her mother. People would apologize to Amy since they understand her point. But her mother never gets any of the apologizing part from people; since she doesn’t speak English fluently they never take her seriously. Tan then realized, instead of discouraging herself to better her English, she pursue English Major from being Pre-Med. She loves challenges. In this case, she succeeds. Amy Tan became a popular writer because of her unique style of writing. She uses her mother’s way of expressing thoughts, her “broken” or “limited” English.

Analysis/Evaluation:
Like Amy Tan, I also grew up and still living with family who are using “broken” English. With my mom that knows very limited “Englishes”, I would always act as her translator too. I experience embarrassment because my mom couldn’t speak English very well. As I grow up and my understanding with my mom’s language deficiency got broader, I started feeling my mom’s frustration toward people that doesn’t take her seriously because of her “broken” English. I worry about her at times. I feel like if she is out by herself...
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