Mother Daughter Relationships in works by Chang Rae-Lee and Amy Tan

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The Power of a Mother In their articles, Chang Rae-Lee and Amy Tan establish a profound ethos by utilizing examples of the effects their mother-daughter/mother-son relationships have had on their language and writing. Lee’s "Mute in an English-Only World" illustrates his maturity as a writer due to his mother’s influence on growth in respect. Tan, in "Mother Tongue," explains how her mother changed her writing by first changing her conception of language. In any situation, the ethos a writer brings to an argument is crucial to the success in connecting with the audience; naturally a writer wants to present himself/herself as reliable and credible (Lunsford 308). Lee and Tan, both of stereotypical immigrant background, use their memories of deceased mothers to build credibility in their respective articles. Chang Rae-Lee, author of "Mute in an English-Only World," moved to America from Korea when he was only six or seven years old. He adopted the English language quickly, as most children do, but his mother continued to struggle. "For her, the English language…usually meant trouble and a good dose of shame and sometimes real hurt" (Lee 586). It is obvious, though, that his mother was persistent in her attempt to learn English and deal with her limited culture experience, as Lee accounts of her using English flash cards, phrase books and a pocket workbook illustrated with stick-people figures. Lee sympathetically connects with the audience through his mother, and forces them to make a personal conclusion when he ends the article with a lingering question in the reader’s mind; what if they had seen her struggling? Would they have sat back and watched or stepped up to help? Amy Tan, writer of "Mother Tongue," is f... ... middle of paper ... ...can never reveal: intent, passion, imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of thoughts" (Tan 594). Both Chang Rae-Lee and Amy Tan use their articles to illustrate the impact their mothers had on creating a respectable ethos as a writer. Lee and Tan are authentic and true, which are great values instilled by a mother that shine through in their writing. These articles are great examples of how much a writer’s ethos contributes to his/her overall argument. As said by Lee, "Having been raised in an immigrant family,…[one sees] everyday the exacting price and power of language…" (Lee 584). 736 Words Works Cited Lee, Chang-Rae. "Mute in an English-Only World." Lunsford, et al. 584-588. Lunsford, Andrea A., et al. Everything’s an Argument. 2nd Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. Tan, Amy. "Mother Tongue." Lunsford, et al. 589-594.

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