Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan Essay

Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan Essay

Length: 829 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Despite growing up amidst a language deemed as “broken” and “fractured”, Amy Tan’s love for language allowed her to embrace the variations of English that surrounded her. In her short essay “Mother Tongue”, Tan discusses the internal conflict she had with the English learned from her mother to that of the English in her education. Sharing her experiences as an adolescent posing to be her mother for respect, Tan develops a frustration at the difficulty of not being taken seriously due to one’s inability to speak the way society expects. Disallowing others to prove their misconceptions of her, Tan exerted herself in excelling at English throughout school. She felt a need to rebel against the proverbial view that writing is not a strong suit of someone who grew up learning English in an immigrant family. Attempting to prove her mastery of the English language, Tan discovered her writing did not show who she truly was. She was an Asian-American, not just Asian, not just American, but that she belonged in both demographics. Disregarding the idea that her mother’s English could be something of a social deficit, a learning limitation, Tan expanded and cultivated her writing style to incorporate both the language she learned in school, as well as the variation of it spoken by her mother. Tan learned that in order to satisfy herself, she needed to acknowledge both of her “Englishes” (Tan 128).
The measure of a person is rarely calculated by the limitations and obstacles that surround the individual, but more so how he or she was able to persevere. Growing up with a mother whose English skills were at a bare minimum, many would consider this to be my Achilles heel in furthering my education. Just as Tan said, “I [too] happen to be rebell...


... middle of paper ...


...ch ease, and now is a successful businesswoman in her own right. Just as Tan’s mother did, “my mother has long realized the limitations of her English” (Tan 130). Somehow these limitations did not hinder her. She recognized who she is and that is the way that she was made to be and there was going to be no one or no thing that could change that.
Tan’s essay does more than just illuminate the trouble with language variations; her essay features a story of perseverance, a story of making a “problem” harmonize into a “normal” life. Almost like a how-to, Tan’s essay describes an obstacle and what it takes to go above and beyond. Mirroring Tan, I have been able to assimilate “the [world] that helped shape the way I saw things” and the world that I had to conform to (Tan 129). Life is a struggle, but what makes it worth it is the climb, not what is on the other side.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Amy Tan’s A Mother’s Tongue Essay

- Amy Tan’s A Mother’s Tongue The purpose of Amy Tan’s essay, “Mother Tongue,” is to show how challenging it can be if an individual is raised by a parent who speaks “limited English” (36) as Tan’s mother does, partially because it can result in people being judged poorly by others. As Tan’s primary care giver, her mother was a significant part of her childhood, and she has a strong influence over Tan’s writing style. Being raised by her mother taught her that one’s perception of the world is heavily based upon the language spoken at home....   [tags: Amy Tan A Mother’s Tongue]

Better Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan Essay

- Despite growing up amidst a language deemed as “broken” and “fractured”, Amy Tan’s love for language allowed her to embrace the variations of English that surrounded her. In her short essay “Mother Tongue”, Tan discusses the internal conflict she had with the English learned from her mother to that of the English in her education. Sharing her experiences as an adolescent posing to be her mother for respect, Tan develops a frustration at the difficulty of not being taken seriously due to one’s inability to speak the way society expects....   [tags: Mother Tongue Essays]

Better Essays
829 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Amy Tan's Mother Tongue

- Amy Tan's Mother Tongue The Essay written by Amy Tan titled 'Mother Tongue' concludes with her saying, 'I knew I had succeeded where I counted when my mother finished my book and gave her understandable verdict' (39). The essay focuses on the prejudices of Amy and her mother. All her life, Amy's mother has been looked down upon due to the fact that she did not speak proper English. Amy defends her mother's 'Broken' English by the fact that she is Chinese and that the 'Simple' English spoken in her family 'Has become a language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk' (36)....   [tags: English Language Amy Tan Mother Essays]

Better Essays
1115 words (3.2 pages)

Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Essay example

- Identity and Culture Amy Tan’s ,“Mother Tongue” and Maxine Kingston’s essay, “No Name Woman” represent a balance in cultures when obtaining an identity in American culture.  As first generation Chinese-Americans both Tan and Kingston faced many obstacles. Obstacles in language and appearance while balancing two cultures. Overcoming these obstacles that were faced and preserving heritage both women gained an identity as a successful American. In the work of Amy Tan’s “Mother’s Tongue” she provides a look into how she adapted her language to assimilate into American culture....   [tags: identity, culture, women]

Better Essays
1081 words (3.1 pages)

Amy Tan's Mother Tongue Essay

- Amy Tan's Mother Tongue In Mother Tongue, Amy Tan talks about how language influenced her life while growing up. Through pathos she explains to her audience how her experiences with her mother and the Chinese language she came to realize who she wanted to be and how she wanted to write. The author, Tan, has written the books The Joy Luck Club, and The Kitchen God's Wife. She is Asian-American, her parents are originally from China, but moved to Oakland, California. The audience in Tan's essay is people 20-35 years old who are culturally diverse....   [tags: Amy Tan Writing Chinese Essays]

Better Essays
851 words (2.4 pages)

Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Essays

- English is an invisible gate. Immigrants are the outsiders. And native speakers are the gatekeepers. Whether the gate is wide open to welcome the broken English speakers depends on their perceptions. Sadly, most of the times, the gate is shut tight, like the case of Tan’s mother as she discusses in her essay, "the mother tongue." People treat her mother with attitudes because of her improper English before they get to know her. Tan sympathizes for her mother as well as other immigrants. Tan, once embarrassed by her mother, now begins her writing journal through a brand-new kaleidoscope....   [tags: broken english, native english speakers]

Better Essays
1012 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Spicy Tongues: Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

- “I am someone who has always loved language. I am fascinated by language in daily life.” Amy Tan, an Asian-American writer of the article Mother Tongue loves the different “Englishes” that can be spoken. In the article, she shares her personal feelings of when she was younger; her embarrassment of her mother’s English and even her own struggle with the language. Amy Tan effectively writes Mother Tongue through the use of diction to show the tone, portray amazing syntax, and express the vivid imagery....   [tags: language, imagery, learning]

Better Essays
935 words (2.7 pages)

English as a Second Language in Amy Tan's Mother Tongue Essay examples

- Language is like a blooming flower in adversity – they are the most rare and beautiful of them all as it struggles to express itself. It blooms and flourishes in strength, awe, and passion as the riches of thought is imbibed from the seed and into a finished beauty. For others, a non-native person speaking in a language that they are not familiar with sprouts out like a weed – the way its thorns can puncture sympathy and comprehensibility. Amy Tan, however, addresses the nature of talk as being unique under its own conditions....   [tags: literature, reader, speaker]

Better Essays
529 words (1.5 pages)

Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and Sacha Z Essay

- The essays Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and Sacha Z. Scoblic’s Rock Star, Meet TeeTotaler are both stories of personal experience. The essays are written in an informal style, yet sophisticated phrasing, as well as confident writing in order to bring out sympathy and understanding from the readers. Both essays are narrated through both author’s own thoughts and feelings throughout their stories, as both become open and personal. The following paragraphs will compare and contrast how both essays have similar themes about overcoming obstacles in life, yet Sacha’s essay is more about the need to fit into society without changing oneself, while Amy’s is disproving assumptions society places on langu...   [tags: english, language, obstacles]

Better Essays
632 words (1.8 pages)

Amy Tan's Mother Tongue and Jimmy Santiago Baca's Coming Into Language Essay

- Amy Tan's Mother Tongue and Jimmy Santiago Baca's Coming Into Language In the course of reading two separate texts it is generally possible to connect the two readings even if they do not necessarily seem to be trying to convey the same message. The two articles, “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan, and “Coming Into Language” by Jimmy Santiago Baca, do have some very notable similarities. They are two articles from a section in a compilation about the construction of language. The fact that these two articles were put into this section makes it obvious that they will have some sort of connection....   [tags: Tan Baca Mother Tongue Language Essays]

Better Essays
1017 words (2.9 pages)