Mother Tongue

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December 6, 2012
“Mother Tongue”
In the short autobiography narrative “Mother Tongue” written by Amy Tan she discusses the reasons why she was passionate on becoming a writer. It is no surprise, that her vision in the work of fiction it is outstanding throughout her struggles with the English language as a Chinese young girl born in an immigrant family. She faced many obstacles of the culture of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. However, she never gave up on the dream of being a writer and defeat any obstacle to captivate the mind and soul of her audience. Amy’s mothers’ limited English became her motivation to write fiction using the approach of story-telling of other nations.

Here, Amy Tan, gives an example of the English she has used with her mother and husband, Just last week, I was walking down the street with my mother, and I again found myself conscious of the English I was using, the English I do use with her [I mean my mother]. We were talking about the price of new and used furniture and I heard myself saying this: “Not waste money that way”. [….] And then I realized why. It’s because over twenty years we’ve been together I’ve often used the same kind of English with him, [ I mean my husband] and sometimes he even uses it with me.(63)

Amy Tan states that she understands that her limited English was becoming an obstacle on achieving her role as a future writer. However, she used this disadvantage to create a new style of writing that I did not follow neither English nor Chinese structure. Now she wanted to explore how fiction and literature will attract the heart and mind of the modern readers of her books.

The author also shares her ordeals about her high school years were she could no longer obtain B’s or B pluses in English. Nevertheless, she did very well in science and mathematics. “This was understandable. Math is precise; there is only one correct answer. Whereas, for me at least, the answers of English were always a judgment call” (Tan...
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