Mother Tongue

Topics: Anecdote, Short story, English language Pages: 3 (1199 words) Published: March 27, 2013
Rhetorical Analysis of “Mother Tongue” written by Amy Tan

“So easy to read”(p.4). Amy Tan ends her essay, “Mother Tongue” with this short and even grammatically wrong sentence. She tells us this mother’s brief review is a proof of success of her writing. Why does she think that easiness is an essence of her writing? She suggests answers to this question by her essay. In her essay, Amy Tan effectively convinces her readers that “broken English” is not an inferior language, but just a different style of English that has values in it by depicting her personal experiences and strong appeal to pathos. She makes her readers to have sympathetic emotions for her mother and hostile emotion for people who was rude to her by presenting vividly depicted personal anecdote. Also, she does not end her essay with her personal stories but broadens the topic to a social level. Amy Tan is a well known Chinese American writer who is famous for her major work, The Joy luck club. She usually writes about the mother and daughter relationship. The essay “Mother Tongue” was originally published in The Threepenny Review in 1990 and also included in The Best American Short Stories 1991, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. In this essay, Tan is likely to reach out to immigrant families that went through similar hardships on communication that she and her mother experienced. In the beginning if her essay, Tan realizes that she uses different kind of English according to the situation. Then, she suggests reasons of the change in her own speaking. She presents personal anecdotes relative to her mother. She shows the way her mother speaks English imperfectly and how her mother was treated rudely by various people because of her language. In tan’s childhood, she thought her mother’s imperfect English is shameful. She thought her mother’s ability to think is also limited, as she uses imperfect English. Her mother’s distinctive English influenced Tan’s English skills. She...
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