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Breaking the Language Barrier

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jerseygirl071470
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Breaking the Language Barrier
Dawn Schwaeber FYS-102-DL2A: First Year Seminar
Adjunct Professor Camille A. Kramer
March 23, 2014

“The Mother Tongue” which was written in 1990 is a touching story of acceptance and appreciation written by Amy Tan, who is most famous for her novel “The Joy Luck Club”. I read over the story several times, and in doing so I realized what language, and interpretation of that language really is. This inspiring writing piece shows that it’s not just a mere combination of words and grammatical phrases thrown together to form sentences and even paragraphs, it’s really about conveying a message with passion and emotion. A message that might inspire an idea, an image or a resolution to a problem. Tan’s essay shows me that the language a person learns at home is not necessarily the normal language of the society. Despite the limitations her Mother’s broken English placed on her as a child, Tan has become a successful writer. This to me, is truly incredible and breaks the language barrier.

The Mother Tongue

Amy Tan is someone who has always been fascinated by language. In the beginning of her narrative essay “The Mother Tongue, which was published in 1990 she states that “I am fascinated by language in daily life. I spend a great deal of time thinking about the power of language. – the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or the simple truth.” She goes on to describe the various forms of English she was raised on, and how they influenced her life and her writing. The intent here is to show how growing up being exposed to only her mother’s tongue, which she later describes for lack of a better word as “broken”, affected her as a child, student and later in life as a writer. Throughout her childhood, Amy is ashamed of her mother’s inability to speak proper...

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