March 12, 2014
Compare and Contrast
There are many adjectives to describe a person and can be used to define our character or life story. Every adjective has either a positive or negative connotation but none can be as prestigious as the demonym American. We seem to take the title for granted as we hear of many unfortunate tales of how willing people are to acquire such a title and even risk death. People who live in the United States and consider themselves to be American however only choose to highlight one aspect of their lives because being an American is only the ending location of their ancestor’s embarks. We all have a prefix to our American whether it is Native American, Mexican American, or Chinese American. Some though have lost touch with their ancestry and are simply unaware of how to identify themselves that American seems to be self explanatory. According to their logic it would seem silly to say that they are German with some slight Swedish American. In the following essays “Mother Tongue” written by Amy Tan and “Nickel and Dimed” written by Barbara Ehrenreich, we see two different while still similar perspectives of what being an American means to both of these women and how they it has molded them into the women they became today.
Beginning with Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”, Amy describes the language barrier her mother faced when trying to communicate with fluent English speakers. Amy states that she knew many “Englishes” which were all some form of English just rearranged in a different manner while possessing the same meaning. She reflects her childhood and how her grades were always above average in Science and Math while in English received unsatisfactory B’s. Not wanting to fit into the typical stereotype of Chinese in Science and Math, she sets out to become an English major in college when originally she was a premed major. Amy Tan analyzes English as her primary choice communication and how it vastly...
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