Amy Tan Mother Tongue Analysis

Decent Essays
Critically acclaimed author, Amy Tan, in her essay “Mother Tongue”, considers cultural standards and preconceived notions propagated by society in the terms of language. Tan explores the perceptions behind those who speak in ‘broken English’ and the validity of all forms of self-expression by revisiting past experiences in her own life with her mother. She adopts a sincere and emotional tone in order to expose audiences to the discrimination many immigrants face in society on a continual basis. Ultimately, through the use of devices such as definition, comparison and contrast, and her masterful command of language; Tan expresses her central claim that all of her ‘englishes’ are deserving of recognition and respect. In “Mother Tongue”, Tan introduces herself as an acclaimed writer, lover of the English language, and defines what having different ‘englishes’ means to her. Tan speaks of a recent event she attended and explains her three englishes and which she uses in that moment as well as in her everyday life for different situations: the one when presenting herself in public, one at home with family, and her medium of expression as a writer. She utilizes the rhetorical strategy of definition in this instance to establish common ground and give insight about certain cultural standards thrust upon non-native English speakers to readers who may not have experienced growing up in multilingual households. Moreover, this device assists in elucidating the major point of
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