Amy Tan's Mother Tongue Essay

688 Words Oct 31st, 2012 3 Pages
Rhetorical Reading Response: Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” In the essay “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan (1990), which discusses her mother’s way of speaking through “broken English”, Tan explores the different “Englishes” that she has come into contact with in her everyday life; these variations have presented struggles in her mother’s life. Tan illustrates this to her audience by giving examples of the struggles her mother was faced with due to “her” English and the many versions of English that surrounds Tan. Tan examines the different versions of English people use in order to make the reader realize that English takes many different forms which leads to difficulty and confusion to those who are attempting to learn and speak the language like …show more content…
I think that Tan gives a very insightful look into the different variations in a language and the struggles that come along with it. Tan’s informative writing leads readers to the conclusion that they shouldn’t be too quick to judge when coming into contact with someone who struggles with English; there is no exception for discrimination anytime for any reason. Tan makes the statement on page 65 that “my mother has long realized the limitations of her English as well,” and although this seems as if it is good that she understands there are limits, this could be viewed as negative. The author’s mother is settling with the mere fact that there is a limitation, but she shouldn’t have to settle. America should be the place of equal opportunity, not opportunity correlated with circumstances. Tan goes on to tell readers about the hassles that her mother had to go through to get even get doctors to take her seriously. Not only did the struggles of speaking English affect her mother’s life, Tan also found them showing up in her life. She tells us on page 63 that the English she uses to lecture and the English she uses with her mother vary, which could attribute to why she always did better in math and science. Tan makes the valid point “that Asian students, as a whole, always do significantly better on math achievement tests than in English” (67). Math is purely facts; there can only be 1 answer. English is dependent on judgment. Being surrounded by “broken” English in the home

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