Thursday, September 15, 2011

Courtney Adams Blog #3

To begin with, the essay, Mother Tongue, is written somewhat as a narrative.  I think this because Amy Tan uses the word I as she depicts her relationship with her different Englishes.  The simple fact that she uses the word you and I gives me the idea that the essay is open form because within formal essays those words are not allowed.  The last sentence of her first paragraph reads, “I cannot give you much more than personal opinions on the English language and its variations in this country or others” (Tan 113).  This is clearly not a thesis to all of the information she is precluding to so for that very reason, this essay must be open form.  Opposing that view, the essay is broken down into many different paragraphs all grouping different ideas or examples together, which is a sign of closed form.  Between the two sides of open and closed form I believe Amy Tan’s essay Mother Tongue falls somewhere in the middle of the two.  Tan not only structured her essay in a manner that is easy to follow but she also uses her unique style and personality to explain herself.
While reading the essay I felt that the audience was directed to all developing writers, especially Asian American ones.  Tan relates herself to her audience as she describes, “And perhaps they also have teachers who are steering them away from writing and into math and science, which is what happened to me” (116).  If an Asian American reads this, I think they will feel highly motivated.  Maybe they could relate to some of the examples and finally acknowledge that they can break the cycle of speaking “broken” English and develop their skills just as Amy did.  For all other writers, I’m sure this essay kept their attention and gave them an insight to something they maybe have never thought about before.
Of a typical 5-paragraph essay that I am used to, no this essay does not conform.  This essay is more of a story line beginning with an introduction to the writer and closing with a happy ending.  Personally, I like the way this essay was constructed, as more of an open prose piece, but I would not consider this under the conventions of an essay.


  1. I agree, it does seem as though she's directing this to people trying to write themselves, especially ones facing adversity!

  2. i agree with both of you about writing to ones self