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).
Bradstreet’s use of metaphor allows her to relate the complex relationships of being a parent to being an author. When the narrator calls her creation her “ ill-formed offspring of [her] feeble brain” she draws parallels between how parents can feel about their children when frustrated (line 1). The narrator refers to her work as a “ rambling brat” to show how difficult it is to accept something she has created (7). The narrator seems to feel this difficulty not only as an author but also as a mother. As a frustrated parent feels the narrator once again uses the metaphor of a child to describe how an author feels when their work does not turn out how they wanted.
These factors contribute to the author’s intent in clarifying the purpose of the article, which is that a limitation in speech does not necessarily mean a limitation in life. Although her mother faced many struggles due to her inability to speak English properly, the ideas and the intent behind the verbal mistakes are what matters—words are sometimes more than mere words, because the connotations and intentions of the words are what truly count. After many years of writing, Tan realizes that she is becoming someone who she is not, and she ends up changing her style of writing and speaking because of her mother, who essentially changed Tan’s perception of language. With the use of rhetorical devices, it seems that Tan’s intended purpose is solely to send a supportive message to her mother, but it seems that she addresses a far broader audience, particularly American-born individuals whose parents have emigrated from elsewhere. Her aim is to help the first-generation people recognize the difficulty of being an immigrant in the United States and the challenges their parents face.
She does not fully understand what is happening to her mother and many of her comments about her mother are incorrect. Also when Francesca describes her friendships at St Stella’s and her new friends at St Sebastian’s she is not always fair in her judgments. Our knowledge of Francesca’s past is revealed when she recounts memories of her past and sometimes she does not remember accurately what has happened to her and her family. While the reader is encouraged to empathise with Francesca, s/he also realises Francesca’s narration is at times inaccurate. Francesca reveals herself to be an unreliable narrator when she explains her mother’s illness because she is not fully aware of what is happening.
As a child, Tan is embarrassed by her mother’s difficulty in language and eventually she sees growing up the child of an Asian immigrant home as the reason she struggled in school to excel in reading and writing. She comes to see the language barrier between parent and child as the reason other children of Asian immigrants struggle with language academically and as the reason why those children are seen to excel in math and science. Eventually Tan is successful in becoming an accomplished author. Her mother has great pride in her work, despite the barriers between the English her mother speaks and the proper English used by an author. It is in this separation of language that Tan comes to realize that there may not be one proper English.
The speaker’s thoughts and phrases are on occasion interrupted with italics used to indicate the possible inner thoughts or spoken voice of whomever is being spoken to in the story. Line after line of instruction invokes a vision of a small child struggling to follow a hurried, exasperated and perfectionist mother through the activities of everyday life. She is a good mother with many lessons to teach and cares enough to guide her daughter into societal acceptance. She is also a selfish mother who is overly concerned with appearances. The lack of paragraphing and indentation gives the work a sense of being rushed to finish before this day becomes tomorrow.
* I am going to compare the themes of two short stories, “I Stand Here Ironing” and “Everyday Use”. “I Stand Here Ironing” is written in a participating narrator point of view. Her theme is a basis of motherhood. She claims as though the position of a mother and how society expects to be is truly just a discovery of how to overcome obstacles. It also focuses on the points of guilt and regret in her life as a mother and how she feels that there is guiltiness within her because of the absence she has made within her daughters’ life.
Knowledge is not always power because the more you know does not necessarily mean you understand what you have learned. In the short story “Everyday Use”, education seemed to make a rift in the relationship not only between the mother and the daughter, but also between the sisters. Dee was one to always try and outsmart her family members always seeking answers knowing no one knew. It was mama who eventually got the community together to help send Dee to school so her daughter would be happy and satisfied. The values of heritage seem to have been lost with the gain of knowledge when Dee has gone to college.
In contrast to Cindy’s new found self esteem, her mother seemed to uphold a strong lack of confidence in her daughter and in herself as well. By the same token, in the second article “The Thrill of Victory … The Agony of Parents”, the author presents the opposition through her mother. Jennifer Schwind’s mother appeared as an embarrassment to her publicly and emotionally. “In a voice so screeching that it rivaled fingernails on a blackboard, she told him that he was a disgraceful coach and that he should be ashamed of himself” (Pawlak 3). While in her mother’s eyes, she only supported her daughter and craved the absolute best for her child.
“I saw my mother’s face, her stricken face.” This shows the disappointment that her mother felt. She went from obedient to defiant and the description of her mother’s face and her feelings shows us Jing-Mei’s evolution in the story, but I believe the most important way that we are able to tell that Jing-Mei is a dynamic, round character is through her own thoughts and