Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

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Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

By | September 2006
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Great art takes inspiration, and inspiration comes from many different sources. It can be a direct experience of your life; it can come from nature, from God; or it can be a person who is close to you. Without inspiration, every work of art will only be a mere reflection of skill without its own story, as Amy Tan once said "The goal of every serious writer of literature is to try to find your voice and your art because it comes from your own experiences, your own pain." Amy Tan herself writes all of her work with her mother in mind as the reader, her inspiration. She writes to show the beautiful and passionate side of her mother that people can't see. In "Mother Tongue," Amy Tan describes how all of the Englishes that she grew up with, normal English and "mother tongue" English, has shaped her first outlook of life. And through the essay, Tan wants to send a powerful message of how we ought to view people by their beautiful side, but not by their shortcomings. Writing the essay in narration, Amy Tan has depicted very clearly how "mother tongue" or "broken" English affects her as a child using both her excellent diction as well as the broken usage of English. Throughout the essay, she intelligently weaves many humorous stories to lessen the inevitable dullness of telling someone's past. And even though the essay shows many of her mother's limited usage of English, which can lead the audience to misunderstand her mother, Amy Tan never forgets to express her admiration for her mother. Whenever Amy Tan talks about an experience she had with her mother's broken English, she always includes beautiful and positive vocabulary such as: vivid, full of observation, intimacy, etc. to reintroduce her mother as a very important woman in her life, the person that helped her to see things the way she is seeing things now, the way that makes sense of the world. Through Tan's past stories, readers can picture her mother as a very simple, straight forward yet brilliant, and...
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