Language As Vision

Language As Vision - N ava rre te Page |1 Rodrigo Navarrete...

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N a v a r r e t e P a g e | 1 Rodrigo Navarrete Essay 1 January 25, 2008 Identifying with Language In Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue,” Tan describes an epiphany or realization of sorts concerning language and the identity it may create. Tan depicts her mother as a woman with whom the reader can sympathize, for Tan’s mother was often seen as inferior because of her lack of a proper command of the English language. Language, essentially, transcended its use for communication, expression, and ultimately ceased being just words; language became an identity in itself. In Tan’s mother’s case, that identity’s chokehold grew stronger with each and every awkward conversation. In a sense, the vision that language provides one with becomes limited for those who do not properly speak a language, and even more so for those who have minimal understanding of that language. Their persona, then, is effectively altered and becomes threatened by the notion that they will never achieve equality because of this misattributed identity, as was the case with Amy Tan’s mother. Amy Tan’s mother is not alone in her struggle, though, for many people in this world are put down, overlooked, or otherwise disrespected simply because they have not or cannot master the English language. These people are typically seen as dumber, half-witted, and sometimes even labeled as lazy because of this certain flaw in their character. To add insult to injury, those with broken English are often ridiculed behind their backs and regarded as somewhat of a curiosity and are hardly ever taken seriously. As a result of this, to say that an identity is not created by language would be completely false, for human judgment rests heavily on first impressions and initial responses to how one speaks and communicates.
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This essay was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course WLD 057E taught by Professor Cunningham during the Winter '08 term at UC Davis.

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Language As Vision - N ava rre te Page |1 Rodrigo Navarrete...

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