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Mother Tongue Essay Main Point

The title of the essay itself is a pun: it describes both the non standard English that Tan's mother, a Chinese immigrant, uses and the native speaker's English, the "mother tongue," in which Tan herself is fluent. She opens the essay by considering her own public English, which tends to the formal and academic. She realizes this when her mother attends one of Tan's lectures. This leads to a discussion of the different "Englishes" in Tan's life. One of the most prominent is her mother's "broken English." Tan describes this English as a "language of intimacy" within the family but also notes how it diminishes status in public encounters. She tells how her stockbrokers and doctors ignored her mother's imperfect English, but responded promptly when Tan herself made the same requests in standard English. Tan then discusses how her mother's lack of English skills might have limited her in her early years, especially when it came to standardized English tests. However, the essay ends by celebrating the range of Englishes in her life. Reading an early draft of a story, Tan realizes that the English she is using is far too academic. She resolves to write using the range of English that she has used in her life, creating a vibrant story that eventually became the bestselling novel "The Joy Luck Club."

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The main aim of the study is to point out of cultural racism that is present all over the world. Amy Tan, the author of the book Mother Tongue, wanted to use her writing skills and opportunity through this book to make readers realize how not being a native American, as she and her mother were not, can hamper how a person deals with day-to-day situations. The author also wanted to bring the new language she had come upon to the attention of her readers. The language brought her closer to her heritage and roots, and so she felt that this could aid those facing similar problems.

There are three participants in the story: Amy Tan, her mother, and a small audience. Amy Tan had been married for 20 years when she authored the book. Therefore, she might be in her 50s while her mother might be in her 70s. The two hail from Shanghai, China, and are immigrants in the United States. The economic status of the author and her mother was above par, and their mental status was stable. The small audience refers to a group of people that Amy was addressing before she realized the difference in her English among audiences.

The author of the novel envisioned that at the end of her writing, someone would appreciate her new language rendition and would recommend it to others. Indeed, this came to happen. In addition to many good comments from her readers and followers, her mother, the target reader, appreciated her work and put it in the best way that Amy welcomed: “so easy to read” (Tan 2005).

The reason behind becoming a writer was also due to the intense activities of Tan’s mother. She saw various actions of cultural racism as her mother was not able to communicate in English. She realized that people living in the United States as immigrants, such as Asian-Americans, among others, face many challenges due to their mother tongue. Some of these problems faced include difficulties in communication, which predisposes them to being taken for granted and treated with an inferiority complex. The author, in her book, explains how her mother had been mistreated owing to her “broken” English. It was very difficult to live and adjust with the US environment and with the people living in the surrounding area. Therefore, Tan decided to learn English so that she may be able to overcome the obstacles her mother had faced in her life. She had to do a lot of work not only learning a foreign language, but also sharpening her writing skills to be able to communicate clearly and conveniently through writing in English.

There were people in the United States of America who tried to stop her from learning advanced English due to her Chinese Background. However, eventually, she was quite able to reach her dream ensuring no cultural racism will be carried out with her for being not able to communicate clearly in the local language. As a writer, she wrote stories explaining her personal experiences and of others to demonstrate how cultural racism in terms of language incomprehension affects the minds of the foreign people living in the United States of America. For instance, Tan used the term “Broken Language” (2005) for describing the language of immigrant families. Communication problems do affect people’s day-to-day lives as it subjects others to low self-esteem, and other people take advantage of their misfortunes to profit. This problem is dominant in the lives of immigrants all over the world. To stop this and make life better anywhere in the world, Amy Tan suggests that a shift in the approach to English writing be made…

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