amy tan - Compsummer11

Mother Tongue
by Amy Tan
SE 1321
Kalpana Iyengar
By Adrian Garza Ovalle
Mother Tongue written by Amy Tan is an essay where Amy
narrates a story of how she as a little girl always had to help
her mother to explain herself to other people because of her
“broken english”. The essay starts with Amy giving a speech
to a crowd with her mother present and she realizes she had
never spoken that way in front of her mother, she tend to use
a different english in front of her mother. As the narration
goes on Amy gives some examples of occasions she had to
help her mother or even talk by through the phone as if she
was her in order for other people to take her seriously and
give her a good service. Amy’s mother did not only limit her
 own possibilities in life but limited Amy’s possibilities as well
given. Chinese students or Asian americans tend to go into
engineering and teachers might tend to steer those students
away from writing but the rebellious attitude of Amy made
her become an English major and prove people wrong. Apart
from what critics had to say about her writings she knew shw
had succeeded when her mother said her book was “easy to
 What this essay made me think about was how your language
limits your thoughts and how you want to express yourself.
Given this issue it will also affect how people think about
you, how people understand you and even how people might
treat you. In the story there are several quotes like “ because
she expressed them imperfectly her thoughts where
imperfect” and “ people in department stores, banks and
restaurants did not take her seriously, did not give her good
service[…]”. These quotes gave meaning to this essay for me,
I started thinking about my personal problems and what I feel
when I struggle to express the way I really want to express.
 Language is a very important tool people have, you can send
a clear message to other people by the way you talk, the way
you say things and when you have a “broken language” you are
not able to send your messages the correct way, even when
you have them very clear on your head you cannot. So after
my first year living in the US and the essay “Mother Tongue” I
am completely sure language can limit your thoughts but it
can also amplify them if it is not “broken”.

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