Thursday, September 15, 2011

Amy Tan "Mother Tongue" Cassie Wolff

Amy Tan has one major focus occurring in her writing of Mother Tongue. The first thing I thought about was if this literacy was an open or a closed prose. I came to the conclusion that to me it sticks out more as an open prose. An open prose is normally based around a question rather than the dreadful thesis statement we’ve all learned to know. The author states, “And I use them all-all the Englishes I grew up with” (Tan 113). By this statement we see that she uses the “I” therefore showing us, the readers, this is her story of her life and what she is about to share with us.

The audience I believe Tan is trying to hook would be young adult readers, such as college students. In my opinion she reaches out to this particular audience because she is expressing that every part of English she learned or had an encounter with help her in one way or another. By sharing this, I believe she is telling us, readers we can use what we have learned up until now with what we learn in the future for the greater good.  Such as, “When I was fifteen, she used to have me call people on the phone to pretend I was she” (Tan 114). Tan could help her mother when others did not understand her ““broken” or “fractured” English” (Tan 114).

I do not believe that this essay conforms to the genre conventions of an essay. The writing Amy Tan expresses does not have the strict structure of a closed prose essay where mostly genre conventions are found. This essay has one purpose and one purpose only I believe, she is here to explain and share her life growing up knowing “broken” language and knowing proper language. This makes the essay a narrative, an example of an open prose.    


  1. I wrote that this did conform to the genre conventions of an essay because she uses personal examples to explain what is going on, but i also agree with you on how it does not conform because it does not have a strict structure.

  2. I agree with you that she is appealing to young adult readers. Personally, I was intrigued by what she wrote about and I'm sure other people were too!

  3. Agreed with Cayla! I think the way she worded her essay definitely appealed to a younger audience compared to an older group. It intrigued me at least.