Mother Tongue: The Struggles of Communication
Communication is arguably the most essential and powerful part of everyday life. Societies ability to run smoothly, efficiently and benefit as many people as possible, hinges greatly on communication and how effectively it is used. We need to communicate to get new and innovative ideas across, to state opinions, to sort our arguments and most importantly, to better understand those around us. The short story Mother Tongue by Amy Tan addresses the reality that the inability to communicate effectively and see the different perspectives of those around us can hinder the flow of society and often block us from new ideas and potential. Communication is different for everyone as shown by the narrator’s mother, and how she has difficulty expressing her ideas so that other’s understand and respect her. We can see that she is still a very intelligent woman who has a great understanding of the world around her even though some view her language as “broken”. Amy argues that standardised tests are not adequate indicators of intelligence because there are many different types of intelligence, and the test only covers one type. Lastly, because the narrator has grown up with what others see as limited exposure to “proper” language, she is dissuaded by teachers (as our many others in similar circumstances) from pursuing a future in English. The theme of the importance of communication in this story is very prevalent in today’s society because of the recent flood of immigrants to Canada, and the importance that they integrate well into Canadian society so we can run smoothly as the diverse country that we are. We need to reach an understanding that because lifestyles and habits l differ from our own, it does not make them worse or less valuable.
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