This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

How I Learned To Read And Write By Frederick Douglass And Mother Tongue By Amy Tan

1475 words - 6 pages

"How I Learned to Read and Write" by Frederick Douglass and" Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan are essays that share a common theme. The theme is opposition and how it is necessary to build strength. In the essay" How I Learned to Read and Write", Frederick Douglass explains that he was born into slavery and faced his own ignorance with a resolve to overcome this challenge. Faced with oppression by the master and mistress of the house, a young Frederick Douglass used any means necessary to defeat ignorance and open his mind up to great treasures of knowledge. In contrast, Amy Tan, the writer of the essay Mother Tongue, found opposition residing in her own thoughts and impressions. Tan a first generation Asian American reflects upon her love of writing and how living in a Chinese home influenced her use and understanding of the English Language. Living with a mother who spoke English in what Amy considered a less than perfect way, caused Amy to limit her view of her mother. When Tan experienced this one sided thinking about her own language abilities while in college it caused reason for reflection and a change of heart in the author. Opposition in all things is a necessary step in the learning process of this life. "How I Learned to Read and Write" and "Mother Tongue" contain contrasting examples of opposition. Using the literary elements of point of view, setting, and characterization will show their effectiveness in building strength thru opposition.
Born into slavery in the south Frederick Douglass shares a personal experience essay written in the first person point of view entitled "How I Learned to Read and Write." Given the chance by a benevolent mistress a young Douglass began the process of learning to read. However the opportunity left almost as quickly as it had began and slavery was at the root of the change. Douglass described the retraction in this way, " Slavery soon proved its ability to divest her of these heavenly qualities. Under its influence, the tender heart became stone, and the lamblike disposition gave way to one of tiger-like fierceness"(Douglass 89). Not only does the teaching stop but all exposure to reading material ceases. Making reading off limits to Douglass only strengthens his resolve to continue. Frederick Douglass expresses his feelings in this way, " The first step had been taken. Mistress, in teaching me the alphabet, had given me the ~inch,~ and no precaution could prevent me from taking the ~ell~"(89).With mind firmly set upon his goal Frederick Douglass stepped forward with a plan in place to learn to read and to be forever free from ignorance.
While Frederick Douglass faced opposition not of his own choosing, Amy Tan author of the essay " Mother Tongue" seemed to suffer from self inflicted opposition and shares her experience in the first person point of view. Tan begins her essay expressing a love of writing and especially language. Born to immigrant parents and is raised in a household...

Find Another Essay On How I Learned to Read and Write by Frederick Douglass and Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and Sacha Z

840 words - 4 pages The essays Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and Sacha Z. Scoblic’s Rock Star, Meet TeeTotaler are both stories of personal experience. The essays are written in an informal style, yet sophisticated phrasing, as well as confident writing in order to bring out sympathy and understanding from the readers. Both essays are narrated through both author’s own thoughts and feelings throughout their stories, as both become open and personal. The following

Spicy Tongues: Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

1164 words - 5 pages “I am someone who has always loved language. I am fascinated by language in daily life.” Amy Tan, an Asian-American writer of the article Mother Tongue loves the different “Englishes” that can be spoken. In the article, she shares her personal feelings of when she was younger; her embarrassment of her mother’s English and even her own struggle with the language. Amy Tan effectively writes Mother Tongue through the use of diction to show the

How I Learned To Read And Write

1260 words - 5 pages Ron Padgett, the author of Creative Reading, recalls how he learned to read and write as though these things happened yesterday. Like Padgett, I tried recalling my reading and writing history. When my parents read to me, they enjoyed reading Dr. Suess books, which became popular with the publication of The Cat In The Hat. I was only interested in looking at books with color. When the books were colorful they grabbed my attention quickly

Mother-Daughter Relationships in Everyday Use, by Alice Walker and Two Kinds, by Amy Tan

1876 words - 8 pages No two mother and daughter relationships are alike. After reading “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker and “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan I realized that the two stories had the same subject matter: mother and daughter relationships. These two stories show different cultures, generations and parenting methods. Although the two mothers act differently, they are both ultimately motivated by the same desire: to be a good parent. In

Mother Daughter Relationships in works by Chang Rae-Lee and Amy Tan

788 words - 3 pages The Power of a Mother In their articles, Chang Rae-Lee and Amy Tan establish a profound ethos by utilizing examples of the effects their mother-daughter/mother-son relationships have had on their language and writing. Lee’s "Mute in an English-Only World" illustrates his maturity as a writer due to his mother’s influence on growth in respect. Tan, in "Mother Tongue," explains how her mother changed her writing by first changing her

The Relationship Between a Mother and Daughter in Two Kinds by Amy Tan

964 words - 4 pages "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan is about the intricacies and complexities in the relationship between a mother and daughter. Throughout the story, the mother imposes upon her daughter, Jing Mei, her hopes and dreams for her. Jing Mei chooses not what her mother wants of her but only what she wants for herself. She states, "For, unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could be only me" (Tan 1). Thus this "battle of wills

"The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan: mother and daughter relationships

1176 words - 5 pages almost become this way." In this quote, Tan uses Old Chinese Symbolism to explain how a lack of inner strength equates to a inadequate supply of wood in a person, making them "crooked and weak" . Eventually, as Rose reaches a central imperative period in her life where she bares some crucial decisions, and looks for support and guidance from her mother. Although An-Mei would be pleased to make the proper choices for her daughter, she is aware that

Comparing and Contrasting If Black English Isn't a Language Tell Me What Is with Mother Tongue by Baldwin and Tan

624 words - 2 pages In the essay if Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What is? by James Baldwin and Mother Tongue by Amy Tan both shows idea of uses of slang and language in different context. In the essay if Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What is? Baldwin states that how language has changed and evolved overtime, Baldwin describes how black English were used as white English, in civil rights movement where blacks were treated as slaves

Amy Tan's Mother Tongue

635 words - 3 pages Tan, however, addresses the nature of talk as being unique under its own conditions. In Tan's “Mother Tongue”, she discusses how her mother's incoherent language is “broken” and “limited” as compared to other native English speakers. When focusing on Amy Tan, she grows noticeably embarrassed with her mother's lack of acuteness in the language, which then influences Tan to “prove her mastery over the English language.” However, she soon learns

Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue

1495 words - 6 pages with daily with her limited amount of English. She talked about how they were discriminated against because of the difficulty they have expressing their ideas, "Broken" English can also affect your social and work life, and it can limit the knowledge and learning you can acquire with a "broken" English. Amy Tan wrote the book to capture what the language ability test can never reveal, her mothers intent, her passion, her imagery, rhythms of speech, nature of her thoughts. I believe Amy Tan did what her mom wanted in the book the Mother Tongue. 1 Zheng

The Mother of "Two Kinds", a book by Amy Tan

575 words - 2 pages Standards and beliefs are similar to principles for some people, however in many cases, they can go too far, especially when it comes to reaching certain goals in life. In the Amy Tan's "Two Kinds," the author shows how the mother took her standards and beliefs and applied them firmly on her daughter.The author shows what standards and beliefs her mother attained. Her "mother believed you could be anything you wanted in America." (Page 374) and

Similar Essays

Mother Tongue By Amy Tan Essay

1312 words - 5 pages the work of Amy Tan’s “Mother’s Tongue” she provides a look into how she adapted her language to assimilate into American culture. She made changes to her language because her mother heavily relied on her for translation. She was the voice of her mother, relaying information in standard English to those who were unable to understand her mother’s broken english. She tells about her mother’s broken english and its impact on her communication to

Mother Tongue, By Amy Tan Essay

856 words - 3 pages Despite growing up amidst a language deemed as “broken” and “fractured”, Amy Tan’s love for language allowed her to embrace the variations of English that surrounded her. In her short essay “Mother Tongue”, Tan discusses the internal conflict she had with the English learned from her mother to that of the English in her education. Sharing her experiences as an adolescent posing to be her mother for respect, Tan develops a frustration at the

Mother Tongue By Amy Tan Essay

1122 words - 4 pages English is an invisible gate. Immigrants are the outsiders. And native speakers are the gatekeepers. Whether the gate is wide open to welcome the broken English speakers depends on their perceptions. Sadly, most of the times, the gate is shut tight, like the case of Tan’s mother as she discusses in her essay, "the mother tongue." People treat her mother with attitudes because of her improper English before they get to know her. Tan sympathizes

"Mother Tongue" By Amy Tan Essay

2499 words - 10 pages quote what my mother said during a recent conversation which I videotaped and then transcribed. During this conversation, my mother was talking about a political gangster in Shanghai who had the same last name as her family's, Du, and how the gangster in his early years wanted to be adopted by her family, which was rich by comparison. Later, the gangster became more powerful, far richer than my mother's family, and one day showed up at my mother's