Importance Of Way Of Speaking In The Story Mother Tongue By Amy Tan

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I believe the author Amy Tan’s claim in the story “Mother Tongue” is to explain that there are people that speak different forms of language to communicate, and she speaks of the affects and judgement of someone’s intelligence due to the way that they speak. Amy Tan shows the affects and limitations she witnessed her mother facing from people having very misconceived views of her. The authors explains how even though someone like her mother was an immigrant whose main language was not English, and though she is unable to speak English fluently to express her ideas and opinions does not make her any less valid then someone who speaks fluent English. She explains how the different form of languages that she has used with mother was quite important and the influence it had on her life and even for her future. The authors claim overall is to show her own personal experience with seeing her mother speak broken English and to not always judge someone intelligence based off their way of speaking.

Some key points the author made throughout the beginning was about language and the influence it has. Amy mentioned how she and her husband would speak in the “broken” English that her mother would speak to her. Amy goes on saying how her and her husband had formed their own language with one another by saying “it has become our language of intimacy.” Amy has the ability to talk proper English but when she is around her husband and mother, she goes back to speaking the broken English without even meaning to. It shows how she understands the broken English and can decipher it from being around it as a child. Another key point was the limitations it caused on one’s life like her mother from her speaking abilities. Amy Tan would take phone calls growing up for her mother due to the difficulties her mother would face trying to talk in broken English. For example, “to call a stockbroker in New York” for her mother in order to get the money they were promised.

It showed the barriers that her mother was faced with throughout her life due to her broken English. Amy Tan also grew up saying she was ashamed of her mother’s poor speaking skills. Showing the struggle and how someone could be looked down upon due to a language barrier. Her mother had a brain tumor and her father and brother both died of brain tumors. The author Amy Tan says, “That was the language that helped shape the way I saw things, expressed things, made sense of the world.” English was challenging for her due to the experience she faced with her growing up on broken English with her mother. She had felt her mom’s speaking abilities had limited her for her future but also it had changed her perspective and view on things throughout her own life.

Reading into “Mother Tongue” Amy Tans audience seems to be towards her mother and the public with it being an article that was published by a literary magazine called “Threepenny Review” and her even mentioning that it was written for her mother. After I started looking more into the article it seems Amy Tan’s intended target audience would be immigrants such as people much like her mother who have broken English or different dialect. I believe that Amy Tan seems to be explaining her story to people who read her work and have experienced similar scenarios being a Chinese American or being foreign to a different language. There are parts throughout her essay where she explains to her audience by showing the comparison between English and “broken” English. She reaches out to her audience by showing her usage of her language and the language she has known as a child growing up as her writing skill by writing fiction and stories. Amy Tan took the use of her language as a writer to be as an influence for her work and her target audience.

Amy Tan wrote about her and her mother’s experiences to connect with the audience. Looking back on the essay the author talks about people’s reactions to her and her mother’s usage of the English language. It clearly shows all the different responses from other people to their type of usage with the English language. Amy Tan shows in the essay how hard and challenging it truly is for an individual to be raised within a home where members speak “broken” English. She describes the hard ache, tribulations, and stereotyping that her mother had experienced due to her broken English. Amy Tan also speaks of how she also felt ashamed and felt as if her mother needed to be fixed at certain points in her life with her mother’s English. This connection the author has made with the audience shows the importance of learning another language in that country and the challenges and effects that it can have on someone’s life. Language can affect many things like careers, academics and even opportunities in life.

Evaluating the essay, I feel Amy Tan’s argument was strong. The essay strongly shows the issues faced for individuals with language barriers and the disconnect from people to people and the effect it can have on one’s life. Amy tan provides evidence in the essay by saying people would take her mother more seriously if it was not due to her ‘broken’ English. Amy Tan breaks the stereotyping barrier by using the language as her career and becoming a fictional writer. The author provides her position in her own effective way. The evidence presented supports the author and her claims because it gives the audience a different outlook and a way to sympathize with the author and her mother.

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