Primary Purpose of Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue

In this paper, we would be analyzing the rhetorical techniques used in Mother Tounge by Amy Tan . The paper will be discussing and analyzing the different aspects of rhetoric devices and techniques used in the story.

The primary purpose of Tan’s “Mother Tongue” is to orient the readers about the author’s intepretation of differentiating Standard English and broken English. Another purpose of writing such book is the fact that Amy Tan has spent much of her time in America, but she was born in China. This factor has enabled her to have the blend of both the societies, which was also evident in her writing.

In the book “Mother Toungue”, the author has discussed the factors that has proved to be the primary determinants of association with her mother. Moreover, being a Chinese native, the author’s mother often finds it difficult to speak Standard Language. In her writing, Amy Tan described the merits and demerits that arose due to the limitation of her mother’s language.

Amy Tan, born on February 19, 1952, is a writer from the United States who explores the relationships between mothers and daughters and what it means to be part of the first generation of Asian Americans. In 1993, the film adaptation of his most popular work, The Lucky Star Club, became a commercial success (Henderson, 266-269).

She is known for her first novel, The Good Star Club published in 1989. She also wrote The Kitchen God’s Wife. In 1995, she wrote The Hundred Secret Senses. Her last published novel was The Bonesetter’s Daughter, though her most recent work is Saving Fish For Drowning, which recounts the experiences of a group of people when lost in an expedition to the jungles of Burma. In addition, Tan has written two books for children: The Lady in the Moon (1992) and The Chinese Siamese Cat (1994), and has also appeared in television spots PBS encouraging children to writing (Henderson, 266-269).

Amy Tan was known to the books, the wife of the fire god and daughters of heaven, which was filmed under its own direction. Other works include The Hundred Secret Senses and The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, a collection of non-fictional essays. They also wrote two children’s books: The Moon Woman (1992) and The Chinese velvet cat (1994). Her books have been translated into 35 languages. The libretto for the 2008 at the San Francisco Opera premiered in setting her bestseller The Bonesetter’s Daughter Amy Tan wrote himself a composer of opera is Stewart Wallace (Henderson, 266-269).

At age forty, Tan was part of the garage-rock band literary Rock Bottom Remainders, along with Dave Barry and Stephen King, who dedicated his book. Along with King, Tan appeared in an episode of The Simpsons called Insane Clown Poppy. Although her work has been widely praised by critics, some of them, like The Joy Luck Club, have been criticized by the Asian American author Frank Chin for “perpetuating racist stereotypes” (Henderson, 266-269).

In the story of “Mother Tounge”, the author has used Appeal to pride ( an emotional appeal) device to grab the attention of the audience. Amy Tan also uses other rhetorical devices such as anecdote and oxymoron to express her embarrassed and guilt, but loving attitude toward the broken English language of her mother. Amy Tan has used a combination of rhetorcial devices to express her emotions and feelings through words. One of the rhetorical devices Tan uses to reveal that her mother’s English skills are embarrassing to her is oxymoron. Tan relates an anecdote about her mother demanding that Tan talk on the phone to a stockbroker who Mrs. Tan believes is trying to cheat her from some money. (Tan, 142-46) We sense Tan’s embarrassment in the exchange, but later when Mrs. Tan and a young Amy Tan stand before the astonished stockbroker, Tan states that her mother shouts at him in “impeccable broken English” (Tan, 142-46).

Tan’s use of Inversion, something that she change the situations and put those situation in a proper word order. Just like an inversion, where two opposing ideas coexist to make a point, so does Tan’s embarrassment and love coexist toward her mother. Tan’s use of inversion is almost a symbol of how she feels about her mother , an emotion which is both “impeccable” and “broken” at the same time. Moreover, throughout the study, Amy Tan has also used rhetorical devices such as ethos, pathos and logos. The primary purpose of using such rhetorical strategies in her writing is to illustrate the reader that a person having limitation is speaking language does not necessarily means that the person will also face limitations in other disciplines of life. That is why, she changed the situations in a usual word order.

Impersonation refers to the technique that the speaker to be said that places another person in his/her mouth. This technique was quite evident in “Mother Tounge”, as Tan possessed her ability to exhibit the sense of reasoning. Tan states in her writing that “Sociologists and linguists probably will tell you that a person’s developing language skills are more influenced by peers; but I do think that the language spoken in the family…plays a large role in shaping the language of the child” (Tan, 142-46). In this phrase, the author illustrated regarding the concepts of other people, as through the device, the author puts her word into other mouth the language skills more influenced by the peers, which means she gave the credit to the peers. The wide use of impersonation in her writing also proved the credibility of knowledge in her writing because in her writing she credited the peers at almost every point.

In “Mother Tongue”, the author has used certain rhetorical questions regarding the difference in performance of students, and provides the answers by exhibiting in her writing that “there are other Asian-American students whose English spoken in the home might also be described as ‘broken’ or ‘limited'” (Tan, 142-46). In this phrase, the author has not provided any concrete evidence regarding the claim that she made in her writing, still including herself in the study as role model which proves the credibility of the knowledge in her writing.

In summary, the writer has used specific rhetorical device in her writing to grab the attention of the audience. Amy Tan used rhetorical devices such as anecdote and oxymoron to express her embarrassed and guilt, but loving attitude toward the broken English language of her mother. Amy Tan has used a combination of rhetorcial devices to express her emotions and feelings through words. Moreover, throughout the study, Amy Tan has also used rhetorical devices such as ethos, pathos and logos. The primary purpose of using such rhetorical strategies in her writing is to illustrate the reader that a person having limitation is speaking language does not necessarily means that the person will also face limitations in other disciplines of life. This is undoudetbly another excellent piece of work by Amy Tan. By using rhetorical tehniques, she has made her writng appealing, informative and interesting to read.

 

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