Despite growing up amidst a language deemed as “broken” and “fractured”, Amy Tan’s love for language allowed her to embrace the variations of English that surrounded her. In her short essay “Mother Tongue”, Tan discusses the internal conflict she had with the English learned from her mother to that of the English in her education. Sharing her experiences as an adolescent posing to be her mother for respect, Tan develops a frustration at the difficulty of not being taken seriously due to one’s inability to speak the way society expects. Disallowing others to prove their misconceptions of her, Tan exerted herself in excelling at English throughout school. She felt a need to rebel against the proverbial view that writing is not a strong
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I had to always disprove that Asian-Americans are not just good at only math and science. My capabilities of acquiring a stellar English skill are not much different from the average American kid next door. Luckily for me as the years went by the doubts began to diminish, especially in the minds of my classmates. I have accomplished what I set out to do and that was to rid the qualm from skeptics’ minds. Slowly I have become more comfortable incorporating two opposing forces in my life, just as Tan did with her writing styles.
As person living with the gift of dual language, Tan’s essay allowed some insight into my own life. She argued that a person’s limitation on language does not reflect their perspective on society or events of the world. The limitation is more of a token than a deficiency, people having these language issues must come up with an exclusive way to portray thoughts and ideas; therefore, enhancing their perceptual knowledge of the world around. Growing up listening to my mother’s English, I have learned to adapt and am able to fully understand her, even though I constantly catch myself trying to correct her. The way she conveys her thoughts and ideas is what makes her unique and who am I to change her by correcting her idiosyncrasies. Although I have become accustomed to my mother’s English there are certain things she says that even