Mother Tongue By Amy Tan Summary

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan The article “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan is mainly about the author’s thoughts and judgments on broken English in comparison to Standard English. Tan is an American writer who was born in China and is torn between two different worlds: the American society and the Chinese society, which have very diverse societal behaviors and values (Tan 142-146). Tan describes how she relates with her mother who, according to her, speaks broken English. She talks about the limitations of her mother’s English including its advantages and disadvantages. This paper provides a summary of the article, including its major themes. “Mother Tongue” talks about Tan’s thoughts on broken English and Standard…show more content…
It is evident that Tan’s mother is considered by the society as inferior because of her broken English. Even her daughter was first ashamed of her due to the fact that she cannot speak good English that is understood by many people in the society. However, the significance of “Mother Tongue” in our lives is the overriding theme in the article. From the beginning, Tan struggles with her two different worlds. Being born in China but living in America, she seems ashamed of her roots and that is why she is embarrassed when her mother speaks broken English (Tan 142-146). But, although she tries hard to be American speaking and writing good English, she realizes that she has deviated from her true self. She finally makes peace with her mother and she starts appreciating her “Mother Tongue”, which consequently affects her writing positively. This shows just how peoples’ native languages are important in their lives. Our “Mother Tongue” is what gives us identity; it defines who we are, and therefore, people should value their native languages. The effect of western education on the relationship between parents and children is also another theme in the article. The initial bad relationship between Tan and her mother is caused by Tan’s feeling that that her mother is uncivilized and uneducated. This problem is common in the present world where once children have attained western education, they start disrespecting their parents or disassociating with them because they feel ashamed of the parents’ mother tongue influenced English. It is important that people learn to appreciate their parents irrespective of their level of education or their cultural background; after all, we owe our lives to
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