Different people speak English differently. Amy Tan in “Mother Tongue” makes this argument throughout. She effectively demonstrates each of the three styles of rhetorical style, logos and ethos in her essay. Tan balances all three parts of the rhetorical triangle in a thoughtful and effective essay.
Amy’s intention in writing this article was, I believe, to show the public that even though someone may not be able to speak or write perfect English, that does not make them less intellectual. Her mother spoke a simplified version of English so she was familiar with it and could easily understand the differences. Amy Tan is determined to communicate her beliefs and position in a rational, effective manner. Her intention with “Mother Tongue” was to explain the importance and influence of the different languages she used with her mother. In her essay, the author first uses logic and logos. For example, she describes how her mother would ask her to call banks, restaurants, or department stores for information. The essay may be directed at those who had to take care their parents like they were swapping roles. Amy Tan was a young woman who had to deal with situations. She was the mediator between her mom’s words and those who did not understand her mother’s. Amy Tan claimed that Tan’s mother used imperfect words and that Tan’s thoughts were imperfect too. Tan, a dual-language person, argued that someone’s limitations on language do not reflect their view of society and the events around them.
Second, the author uses the ethos concept to explain that one shouldn’t let social expectations affect your perception. She believes that standard tests cannot accurately measure intelligence. It’s unfair because people think differently and there are different types of intelligence. Tan’s speech and her family’s teachings impacted her life as a young girl. She tells the story about her mother’s relationship with her. Her school performance was also affected by her family environment. Other Asians in America are experiencing the same problem and are often taught by teachers to steer them away form writing to science and math. Amy Tan hopes to emphasize that even though someone can’t speak English fluently, this does not make them less intelligent than others who were born here and understand English. It’s like the saying, “We’re all just like a snowflake. Each of us is unique in our own way.” While we all share some similarities, our differences are what make us unique. However, her mother’s language was what made her judge. Her mother’s incorrect grammar and improper use of words also led to her feeling disowned. The author wanted to share a powerful message through the story ‘Mother Tongue. She wants us to look at people from their best side, not just their weaknesses. The quote is “We are all like snowflakes, each unique in our own beautiful ways.” Everyone has a message. Although it may not be the same as yours, it doesn’t make it wrong.
Tan uses emotion to communicate her feelings. Tan is an example when she informs readers of her mother’s cancer. When the hospital said that they had lost their CT scan, they didn’t apologize. They didn’t appear to have sympathy for Tan’s anxiety to get the diagnosis. Tan’s mom was neglected and received very little care at the hospital. Without someone to call, her illness could have progressed and nobody would have known.
Amy Tan uses a variety of rhetorical strategies to successfully explain the U.S. language barrier. Communication skills are essential for thinking, emotions, or ideas. Otherwise, one could be misinterpreted.