Response Essay Example to "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan

Published: 2022-09-08
Response Essay Example to "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan
Essay type:  Response essays
Categories:  Amy Tan
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 611 words
6 min read

In Tan's essay "Mother Tongue," Tan explores the several types of language that people use around the globe as they settle in the US and adapt to the American way of life through her interaction with her mother. Born in America to native parents with a Chinese origin, Tan ended up being a fiction writer against her parent's hopes of her being a concert pianist and a doctor. Tan shows how her mother's broken language has had an impact on her life. The author narrates how she turns out to be so passionate about language. Tan says "she constantly had to be her mother's translator, and this was uneasy for her" (Tan, 1990, p.7). The author felt the society perceived her mother a weak woman since she was not able to effectively communicate in English, although the mother was an intellectual. The author talks about how "helping her mother gives her the aptitude of experiencing how language is a device in the socio-cultural aspects of society" (p. 7). Tan's nature gives her the power to continue pursuing her love for language and writing. The rhetorical approaches of pathos, ethos, and logos help in understanding Tan's wishes of conveying her message.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

A good number of citizens in the United States speak English as their first language. Nevertheless, what makes people different is that it is not common to get two individuals speaking the same English. In reality, people speak out quite differently when in a public setting and when communicating with family and close friends and the essay supports this very well. At home, Tan talks to her mother "in a broken type of English for her to understand easily" (p. 7). But when in public, speaking with the phone, or running business errands, she uses a clear, grammatically correct standard English. Tan's, mother plays a significant part in demonstrating how her idea on communication has changed. The most significant factor is the fact that Tan uses her hands-on experience to decide on her aspirations irrespective of what others perceived her life would be. I think this essay had much more of significance than merely describing Tan's love for language. The article signifies that how we communicate represents several things. For instance, in school, we use a particular type of dialect while generating a science report, and scholars as well apply a different language type compared to home and family communications.

Through Tan's experiences with her mother's interaction, the essay shows the various forms of language that is, formal and informal. Tan says "her mother's dialect as natural, vibrant, and vivid" (p. 7). Tan's mother way of language is quite a challenge, yet she claims "it is direct and full of imagery, and I can understand it since it's my 'mother tongue" (p. 7). From this, it is evident that language has power in improving our everyday communication routines, constructing mental pictures, and inducing emotions. Language can influence people's perceptions and responses while communicating. Tan believes that "communications, particularly in immigrant homes, play a big role in molding a child's language" (p. 7). This portrayal conveys a strong message of how people ought not to allow others deficiencies in language use have an impact on how they are perceived. The author's events with her mother "assist her in acknowledging how one can make them be part of a different culture as well as structuring and defining a person's identity in society" (8). The essay bears credibility, reasoning, and an appeal to emotion since the author shares her experience supporting it with instances of how others would react to her mother's communication.


Tan, A. (1990). Mother Tongue. The Threepenny Review, (43), 7-8. Retrieved from

Cite this page

Response Essay Example to "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan. (2022, Sep 08). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism