Essay about The Sandwich Generation

878 Words Sep 2nd, 2014 4 Pages
Amy Tan begins by announcing, “I am not a scholar of English…I cannot give you much more than personal opinions on the English language and its variations in this country and others.” How does this opening set up your expectations for the rest of the essay? Why do you think she chose to begin by denying her own authority?

The introduction Tan decided to use presents the reader with a strong sense of the kind of individual she is. By saying “I am not a scholar of English”, Tan is revealing how humble she is. Amy Tan has written many novels and essays (some of which have been nationally recognized). Yet, she starts off her essay by stating that this is just a product of her opinion and that it is in no way superior to any others opinion.
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She does not want her complex English phrasing to stop them from being able to gain something from her writing.

How does Tan’s title – “Mother Tongue” – affect the way you read her argument? What other titles might she have chosen?
Tan’s choice of title-“Mother Tongue”- allows the reader to understand Tan’s relationship with her mother. Although at some points, Tan was critical and embarrassed of her mother’s English, she has grown to understand and accept the idea that everyone can have their own kind of English. As a reader, the title allows you to have an open mind to the concept that “broken English” is not necessarily broken. People may not be able to speak English perfectly, but that does not mean you can label them as uneducated nor does it mean you are superior. Tan could have used a title that was patronizing or condescending. Her title could have swayed the reader to let go of whatever English they use and to start using “proper”/”formal” English. But as Tan said in her essay: “Fortunately, I happen to be rebellious in nature and enjoy the challenge of disproving assumptions..” Tan embraces the kind of English her mother uses because it plays a big part in who she is and how she speaks her own English and the title “Mother Tongue” is a testimony of

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