Ann Tan Mother Tongue Summary

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I find it quite interesting to know how the author Ann Tan, has somewhat of a turn on and off switch. For instance, she stated in the beginning paragraphs of “Mother Tongue,” how she embraces the “power of language.” The author invites us into her world, giving us a clear picture of her own personal experiences that she encounters with the variations of languages. The author talked about the experience she had with her mother being in the room while giving a speech to a large group of people. According to the author, her speech was “filled with carefully wrought grammatical phrases,” the English language she had never spoken to her mother. The author also admits how she finds herself speaking what she later calls in the essay, “broken English,” to her mother and sometimes her husband. Why? Because this was the primary language used …show more content…

Although her mother's language was clear to her, others had a difficult time understanding her. I was shocked to read how the author had clearly defined her mother's language as being “broken” or even “fractured.” On one hand, she recognizes her mother as being intelligent, but on the other hand, she seems to be confused about her mother's language. For example, her mother reads the “Wall Street Week”, “Forbes” report, a few of “Shirley McClaine” books, and has a stockbroker. I believe the author relied too heavily on the assumption that just because her mother read proficient English, she should have been able to speak it. But life doesn't work like that and I found it to be an insult toward her mother. The other section that really got me to thinking was when the author talked about how she had to pretend to be her mother just to address certain business calls, with her mother breathing down her back. I'm sure there had to be times where the author might have felt a little frustrated with her mother's

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how ann tan embraces the "power of language" and invites us into her world, giving us a clear picture of her personal experiences.
  • Opines that has a persuasive argument when getting her point across about everyday languages.
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