Although Amy Tan was born in the United States, her writing is shaped to a great degree by the immigrant experience.  Discuss how this is present in her writing of "Mother Tongue."  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The original question had to be edited.  I would suggest that Amy Tan straddles the immigrant world as well as the native- born hyphenated American world in her discussion of language, writing, and speaking in "Mother Tongue."  Tan's premise is that the language and style of writing that she embraces and employs as a professional writer is rooted in the "broken English" of her mother.  For Tan, the emphasis is to reconceptualize this construction of "broken English" or "limited English."  She wishes to deconstruct this to examine how communication is "in the eye and ear of the beholder."  Just because Tan's mother speaks a style of English that might be deemed as limited, it does not preclude her full understanding of the language.  It does not prevent the full articulation of her voice.  Tan's emphasis is the idea that such social constructions limit the voice and experience of the individual.

While Tan is born in America, her essay explains how she is a part of this experience.  She feels that she has an obligation to fully authenticate her own English experience as well as the experience of her mother, that of the supposed "broken English."  The same "broken English" experience of her mother is Tan's own "broken Chinese" experience.  For Tan, both experiences is a part of her own identity.  In validating her own voice, Tan recognizes that she must break the cycle of prejudice and demand that her own mother's voice, her own "mother tongue," is accepted.

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