What Is The Theme Of Mother Tongue By Amy Tan

737 Words3 Pages
In her narrative Mother Tongue, Amy Tan speaks of how the English language has shaped her life, drawing from personal experiences in her early life, to her daily use of English in the present. Tan begins her narrative by identifying her own “mother tongue”, which is simply the broken English her mother uses and has been accustomed to. Tan says that due to her mother’s broken English some are unable to understand her, thereby limiting Tan’s mother to function properly in our English speaking society. Tan shows the reader how her feelings toward her mother tongue have changed throughout her life drawing out a personal experience from her adolescence. A quote from Tan’s narrative speaks of an embarrassing moment from her adolescence in which…show more content…
I had to get on the phone and say in an adolescent voice that was not very convincing, “This is Mrs. Tan.” And my mother was standing in the back whispering loudly, “Why he don’t send me check, already two weeks late. So mad he lie to me, losing me money. And then I said in perfect English, Yes, I’m getting rather concerned. You had agreed to send the check two weeks ago, but it hasn’t arrived.” Then she began to talk more loudly, “What he want, I come to New York tell him front of his boss, you cheating me?” And I was trying to calm her down, make her be quiet, while telling the stockbroker, “I can’t tolerate anymore excuses. If I don’t receive the check immediately, I am going to have to speak to your manager when I’m in New York next week.” And sure enough, the following week there we were in front of the astonished stockbroker, and I was sitting there red-faced and quiet, and my mother, the real Mrs. Tan, was shouting at his boss in her…show more content…
Tan also reflects on how her broken English with whom she shares with her mother is her mother tongue, and how this broken English has shaped who she is today. I am able to identify with Tan’s feelings as my grandmother who is a native Puerto Rican, has her own “mother tongue” as she still speaks in broken English. After my mother passed away when I was three, my grandmother moved in to help raise my sisters and I as we were very young. My grandmother used the same broken English Tan’s mother’s had used and my feelings towards it mirrored Tan’s at an early age. I remember because my father worked during the day my grandmother had to attend parent teacher conferences in his place. As I was still too young, my grandmother dragged me along and made me wait outside. We had waited in line for about two hours before finally being called for my conference. After a few minutes in, one of my teachers walks outside of the classroom and asks me if I know Spanish, to which I reply no. As the teacher walks back into the room I hear a resounding “Ma’am we must reschedule…there are other parents waiting and we cannot understand you, and we are pretty sure you

More about What Is The Theme Of Mother Tongue By Amy Tan

Open Document