The Threepenny Analysis: Rhetorical Analysis Of Mother Tongue

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Meera Patel Mr. Bruss Engl 1001/171 September 22, 2011 Rhetorical Analysis of Mother Tongue In “Mother Tongue”, an essay from The Threepenny Review in 1990, Amy Tan explores the various forms of English that people from around the world utilize as they immigrate to the United States and adapt to the American culture. Her mother plays a prominent role in telling of how her perspective on language has transformed. The occurrences with her mother helped her acknowledge not only that language allows one to be a part of a culture, but that it structures and helps define one’s identity in society. Tan’s article conveys reasoning, credibility, and an appeal to emotion because she shares her story and supports it with examples of how others…show more content…
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. Due to their lack of verbal proficiency in English, they are often ignored, underestimated, and misunderstood. “Mother Tongue” illustrates the biased nature of interacting with people who are not familiar with the American culture, but are actually part of a smaller aspect of society that adds to the overall diversity of the culture. Essentially, Tan is able to come to terms with her rich cultural history and learns to appreciate her mother for re-structuring her thoughts and outlook on

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