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Questions on “Mother Tonge” by Amy Tan

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1.Tan opens her essay by stating, “I m not a scholar of English or literature,” then states, in the next paragraph, “I am a writer” to show she is not critical, but passionate about language. It is important to her because she was able to excel in English, even though the odds were against her. To be a scholar you must know every corner of something, but to be a writer you have to be creative in order to appeal to an audience. Tan is appealing to pathos, or emotions. Tan wants readers to know her guilt and the difficulties her mother has gone through.

2.Tan uses anecdotes to give a clear example of her situation and feelings. This can relate to readers lives as well as demonstrate a point of frustration in Tan’s life. The impact of omitting one of these anecdotes would be to take away from the story because it would take away from different emotions. For example, taking away the CAT scan story would not show the seriousness of the effects of the mother’s broken English. If the SAT story was taken out, it would not show how Tan’s mother’s broken English affected Tan.

3.By quoting Tan’s mother you personally can attempt to decipher the language. You get to see the difficulty of understanding Tan’s mother by this example rather than just assuming what it would be like if there wouldn’t have been a direct quotation. The quote also shows how it may sound like Tan’s mother doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but her speech does not reflect her intelligence or comprehension.

4.Tan believes that envisioning a reader helps create a story that the reader is more able to relate to and understand. While doing this, she uses her mother as an example of her experience with the difficulties of understanding other languages. Miscommunication could easily be related to by foreigners of the U.S. because so many are misunderstood and taken advantage of. Using her envisions, Tan creates stories easily understood by all.

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