Response “Mother Tongue by Amy Tan’s Essay”
Reader Response: “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan
From the beginning, “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan has a feeling that remembers Richard Rodriguez’s “Aria: Memoirs of a Bilingual Childhood.” It has the same private feeling as if she were sharing something intimate about her life and her relation with the language. The many “Englishes” she uses are nothing but a reflex of herself. Through her mother and her grasp of English she comments on the fragmented nature of her language. The way she speaks to her and the way she speaks to the world.
Consequently, Tan’s essay relates to how in bilingual households most children grow with a secret language they use to communicate to their parents. In this case, Amy Tan’s mother broken English. Nevertheless, what calls attention is how Tan never considers her mother’s English as inferior and that although she seems to understand the complexities of the language she is unable to replicate it.
Nevertheless, Tan’s primary concern is exploring her relationship with her mother, showing how regardless of the fracture of their communication, they have managed to stay together and help each other. According to my experience, many people feel frustrated or try to hide their parents’ heritage when they have non-American parents, as they think their English might not be as correct as the others’. I remember seeing bilingual classmates scoffing at their parents about the way they talked, and that always made me wonder about how their parents truly are. For instance, they might be incredibly intelligent individuals but their inadequate grasp of the language puts them in disadvantage all the time.
Hence, mother tongue seems to be more than just the first language we learn. Mother tongue refers to something much deeper. To Tan, it refers to the secret language she shares with her mother, to me it refers to those expressions that without words make me know I am with those I love.
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