Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

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What organizational pattern does Tan use in "Mother Tongue," and how does she control her tone?  

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The principal method of organization Amy Tan uses in “Mother Tongue” is that of comparison and contrast. The essay contrasts two types of English, the formal variety “filled with carefully wrought grammatical phrases, burdened ... with nominalized forms” which Tan learned at school and the more informal variety, which Tan reluctantly describes as “broken” but which is also more colorful and surprising, spoken by her mother. Such binary oppositions are employed throughout the essay. Tan is compared and contrasted with her mother and through them the essay contrasts the assimilation of first and second-generation immigrants in the United States. Her mother’s actual intelligence and shrewd judgement are contrasted with the public perception of her, and the way she is treated when trying to communicate with native English speakers in America, such as the doctor and the stockbroker. These binaries naturally lend themselves to a compare-contrast model of organization.

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