Amy Tan's Mother Tongue and Jimmy Santiago Baca's Coming Into Language

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Amy Tan's Mother Tongue and Jimmy Santiago Baca's Coming Into Language

In the course of reading two separate texts it is generally possible to connect the two readings even if they do not necessarily seem to be trying to convey the same message. The two articles, “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan, and “Coming Into Language” by Jimmy Santiago Baca, do have some very notable similarities. They are two articles from a section in a compilation about the construction of language. The fact that these two articles were put into this section makes it obvious that they will have some sort of connection. This essay will first summarize the two articles and break them down so that they are easily comparable; also, this essay will compare the two
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Tan goes on to explain what sociological impacts she experienced based on her upbringing. She concludes that her mother should not be judged based on her “watered down” English, and that people should be more accepting to those who cannot express their feelings in English.

The second article is “Coming Into Language” by Jimmy Santiago Baca. Baca presents his information in an autobiographical style. He begins his story by introducing himself as the main character around the time when he was to be thrust into the prison system for the first time. He notes his agony due to the fact he cannot read or write, which in turn makes it impossible for him to truly describe his feelings. (Baca 42) His first experiences in beginning to understand the written word were in prison. He was sent back to prison years later on drug charges, and again he was forced to abide his time with learning the written word. It was not a burden for him. Baca discovers that through language he is able to free himself from all the barriers he had encountered. Baca decides that he must write, and that it should take precedence over all other aspects of life. This decision is met with resistance by the prison personnel. Baca is put through a hellish gauntlet of indignities in order to write. (45) He never loses hope. He concludes that all his writing was really just done to express his feelings that he couldn’t express to anyone else.
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