Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Essay

In this research paper, I will be writing about Amy Tan’s achievements and her life when she was growing in the United States. I will also be discussing one of her particular articles which is Mother Tongue. I will be talking about the message of the article Mother Tongue and the intended meaning to the audience. The American-Chinese writer wrote this article in 1990. Tan mostly talks about her relationship with her mother and the impact her mother had on her life.

According to, Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952, in Oakland, California. Both her parents immigrated from China. When Amy was fifteen years old, her father and her older brother died from brain tumors within a year. After Tan’s father and older brother passed away, she moved to Europe with the rest of the family to acquire her high school diploma. When she graduated high school from Montreux, Switzerland, she came back to the United States for college.

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She attended Linfield College in Oregon, San Jose City College, San Jose State University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of California at Berkeley. When she completed her college, she worked as an English adviser and also worked as a writing helper. In 1974, Amy Tan married her boyfriend, Louis DeMattei. After being together for 11 years, she wrote the story Rules of the Game for her writing workshop to start the book Joy Luck Club. In 1989, Tan published the book the Joy Luck Club. This book is the most popular fiction workbook from the rest of her books. According to Wikipedia, this book explores between Chinese women and Chinese-America. It focuses on four Chinese American immigrant families in San Francisco who start a club known as The Joy Luck Club, playing the Chinese game of mahjong for money while feasting on a variety of foods. After they agreed to meet to play Mahjong, they decided to divide it into four sections to make sixteen chapters. Unfortunately, before the novel opens, one of the mothers died unexpectedly. But they did not give up after this tragedy happened. They put efforts into it and it became a commercially successful film. Amy Tan has written several books including the hundred secret senses, the kitchen god’s wife, and bonesetter’s daughter, etc. Tan also wrote the essay Mother Tongue a year later when she published the Joy Luck Club book. In this essay, Amy Tan talks about how language influenced her life while growing up with her mother. Mother Tongue, is one of the essays written by Amy Tan. Her story tells about Tan and the relationship she had with her mother. Amy tan is the person who loves to write and read every single day. In the article Mother Tongue, Tan demonstrates that language has power in the way we express our perspective in different modes. Amy grew up with different types of English. Tan states that she spoke both broken English and standard English with her mother and with others respectively. Even though her mother had limited English, Tan was always able to know what her mother said. No matter what other people said about Tan’s mother’s English, she defends her by saying But to me, my mother’s English is perfectly clear, perfectly natural(396). She never had a difficult time to understand her mother’s English. I love the way she expressed her Mother’s Tongue because Mother Tongue is the first language we learned to speak and it is clear and vivid. Amy Tan believes that language is one of the basic tools for expressing our feelings, emotions, and thoughts. She writes about her experiences by saying, It’s my mother tongue. Her language, as I hear it, is vivid, direct, full of observation and imagery. That was the language that helped shape the way I saw things, expressed things ( 396). Tan respects her Mother’s Tongue because it causes her to become a better writer and makes her see herself. She was also able to turn this to something special. Based on, in the essay, Broken English’: people are more than their outer appearances, Phiengchai Sisouvanh talks about the essay Mother Tongue and that Amy Tan points out the discrimination her Chinese mother was facing because Tan’s mother did not speak English fluently. Sisouvanh believes that many people treat Amy Tan’s mother unjustly. A lot of American people consider immigrants as untaught and mindless people. Most of the American people just see their ethnicity, language, religion, and other differences instead of seeing their humanity. Nevertheless, Sisouvanh explains that Amy Tan acts opposite of those societies. She regards you as an educated and knowledgeable person no matter where you come from. He also states that Tan’s mother broken English helps her to have new perceptions and she believes that her mother’s language is clear vivid, and imagery. Sisouvanh finds that he had a similar experience with Amy Tan. When he immigrated with his family, they faced limited opportunities because of their limited English like Tan’s mother. He had to translate from his family to the speakers of the family because he was the first child who could get a formal education in the family. However, he believes that the language he speaks at home is very helpful and makes sense. He demonstrated in the article by saying, It opened my eyes to understanding those with limited English-speaking proficiency. He talks that his first language was the base that he could see the world and express things which have a similar situation with Amy Tan.In general, Mother Tongue, shows how the language influenced Amy Tan’s life. Both of the authors wrote that Mother Tongue is the language they speak for the first time and it is vivid and clear. Amy Tan and Phiengchai Sisouvanh mentioned that people were treated indignity to Tan’s mother because of her limited English. People can ignore you in the way you speak English which is not necessary. In conclusion, Amy Tan became a good writer after all the situations she faced. She has never been in despair with her challenges. She always looks at a positive path and respects her mother’s language no matter what people say about it. She has published a lot of books, novels, and essays. The essay, Mother Tongue. was written by her. People commented that her essay Mother’s Tongue is the common situations in most immigrants family and they connected this with their experience.Work citedTan, Amy, Mother Tongue, Seagull Reader: Essays, Ed. Joseph Kelly. Norton, 2016. Editors. Amy Tan Biography. The website. A&E Television Networks. April 2, 2014. Phiengchai. Broken English’: People are more than their outer appearances. International Examiner. Jan 4-Jan 17,2017. Amy Tan. The Joy Luck Club. G.P. Putnam’s sons. 1989.

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