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1990, Amy Tan
Nonfiction narrative essay
Amy Tan's 'Mother Tongue' explores her personal background in life and the tension between her worlds of Chinese and English. In the 1st section Tan primes the reader on her relationship with “different Englishes”. Tan bridges the first and second parts of the essay with descriptions of her “mother’s English,” or her “mother tongue”. In the 2nd section Tan describes the impact her mother’s language had on her. In the concluding section Tan then connects her mother’s English to Tan’s own choices regarding writing style and career.
Identity, language, shame, education, immigration, mother-daughter realtionship.
“I spend a great deal of my time thinking about the power of language — the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth.”
“In America nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you.”
“It's a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.”
“Memory feeds imagination.”