Mother Tongue

Topics: Brain tumor, Grammatical person, Word Pages: 2 (621 words) Published: November 2, 2012
Raise. Native. Source. Origin. Protector. These are all words that can be interchanged with the word “mother.” Like anything else all language has an origin. Likewise, language is something that comes from a source but changes, or is raised, over time. Different languages are native to different people and some language is protected over time, whether through books or the human mind. In her work “Mother Tongue,” Amy Tan explores the creation of her language and her mother’s role in it through her literary skills to relate to the reader, like me. As a first generation Asian American, Amy Tan believes that her English derived from multiple “Englishes.” The “simple” English she uses when speaking to her mother, the “broken” English her mother uses, her translation of her mother’s Chinese which she considers “watered down,” and the perfect English her mother would use to translate her own Chinese if she could. “So with this reader (her mother) in mind…I began to write stories using all the Englishes I grew up with” (38), Tan continues to discusses how her “Englishes” and her mother have made an impact on her writing, and her successful career as an Asian American woman in American literature. Through her personification, Amy Tan makes “English” something that is ever changing, being raised and nurtured. She uses organization skills to lead the reader through how she first realized her different “Englishes,” how they have impact her life and how they have affected her writing. Even someone who is not bilingual is appealed to by Tan use of pathos in her recollection of her mother’s struggle receiving her test results for her brain tumor, because of discrimination she received for her poor English. “She said they did not seem to have any sympathy when she told them she was anxious to know the exact diagnosis, since her husband and son had both died of brain tumors” (36). Tan also uses pathos in the fact that she only ever refers to her mother as “mother” and writes from...
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