Mother Tongue Essay

1213 Words Apr 2nd, 2013 5 Pages
Rhetorical Analysis of “Mother Tongue” written by Amy Tan

“So easy to read”(p.4). Amy Tan ends her essay, “Mother Tongue” with this short and even grammatically wrong sentence. She tells us this mother’s brief review is a proof of success of her writing. Why does she think that easiness is an essence of her writing? She suggests answers to this question by her essay. In her essay, Amy Tan effectively convinces her readers that “broken English” is not an inferior language, but just a different style of English that has values in it by depicting her personal experiences and strong appeal to pathos. She makes her readers to have sympathetic emotions for her mother and hostile emotion for people who was rude to her by
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Now, she thinks all languages she uses including her mother’s tongue should be used in her writing. She decided to “[seek] to preserve the essence”, her mother’s “intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts” in her essay. (p.3-4) The most powerful rhetorical strategy of her essay is personal anecdote. Her personal anecdotes not only support her argument but also appeal to pathos. Her essay can be seen as a just collection of anecdotes, but she definitely has an argument in her essay. By presenting personal anecdotes of Tan and her mother, she maintains that people who use “broken English” are often treated disrespectfully even though their thought are not limited. Also, she lets her readers to compare her stories to their own and make them to think thoroughly about their own languages. Her mother’s utterances are not just from the Tan’s memory, but videotaped and then transcribed by Tan. Also, Tan does not simply explain the way her mother talks, but presents her utterance line by line showing distinctive features like lack of grammaticality of her language. This procedure makes her anecdotes more authentic and vivid that makes readers feel like they are actually listening to the utterances. She also repeatedly compares her mother’s utterance with her revised

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