Rhetorical Analysis Essay Final

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Final

Edwin Negrete Ramos

ENGL 110

The Rhetorical Analysis Essay


The English language is one of, if not the most, widely used languages in the world, and it is sometimes perceived as complicated due to the numerous ways to construct and structure sentences and the extensive vocabulary. People are deluded by the concept that there is a “proper way” to speak English since the language is so complex, and Amy Tan will explain this in “Mother Tongue” by talking about her mother-daughter connection and how English has affected both of them throughout their lives. In 1990, “Mother Tongue” was first published in the magazine “The Threepenny Review.” Tan discusses the differences between how her mother speaks English and how she speaks English in her essay. Given how she communicates in English, as well as the fact that her mother’s English is deemed “broken.” Tan, on the other hand, is uncomfortable with the idea of referring to her mother’s English as “broken,” and that her capacity to communicate in English has no bearing on her passion or meaning. Tan employs imagery and diction to explain her mother’s discrimination and how unfair it is. Tan uses Pathos and Ethos to persuade the audience that a person’s English competence does not dictate who they are as a person. She uses Pathos to talk about her and her mother’s experiences, and Ethos to demonstrate her writing talents.

Tan’s use of pathos throughout her essay aids the reader in comprehending her mother’s struggle against discrimination as a result of her “broken” English, as well as how it affected and made her feel. When Tan says, “It’s my mother tongue,” the first occurrence of pathos in “Mother Tongue” occurs. Her speech strikes me as vibrant, direct, and full of observation and imagery. That was the vocabulary that influenced the way I perceived the world, articulated myself, and made sense of it” (Page 1, Paragraph 6). Prior to this statement, it was discussed how various people interpret her mother’s words differently. She goes on to remark that some people don’t understand what her mother says, and then she carries on. This has pathos because she expresses her passionate feelings about her mother’s English and how it should not be regarded as broken because it is her mother’s own method of expressing herself. Tan refers to it as her mother tongue, even if it isn’t written grammar. Tan also mentions in this same line that, despite her mother’s bad English, she has a profound understanding of the language because she can read periodicals like Forbes and Wall Street Week. Tan’s diction and descriptive language also convey pathos; for example, when she says damaged or needed to be fixed, she expresses her displeasure with referring to her mother’s English in that manner; she also mentions that her English could be considered “broken” or “fractured,” but she uses these words with regret, describing how she winces every time she has to do so. Tan then employs pathos to elicit sympathy for her mother by portraying personal situations, as evidenced by Tan’s statement, “The fact that people in department shops, banks, and restaurants did not take her seriously, did not offer her excellent treatment, pretended not to understand her.” This statement helps the reader to sympathize with her because she was not taken seriously just because she could not speak appropriate English, despite the fact that she was not doing anything wrong. The emotion of being denied service when you have done nothing wrong is one that most people can identify to, as most individuals have been in trouble for something they did not do. Tan began to speak for her mother and behave as if she was her mother on the phone, and one interaction occurred where Tan had to speak with her mother’s stockbroker because her mother was not being taken seriously, and while she was on the phone, her mother was yelling. Tan feels embarrassed by the circumstance, as she describes herself as “red-faced and quiet,” demonstrating how her mother’s English is hurting her. Tan then recalls a time when her mother had an appointment and went to the hospital to get a CAT scan of the benign tumor that had been discovered, but the hospital allegedly lost it and didn’t care about her concerns, despite the fact that both her husband and son had died from tumors, and she spoke in her best English. “And when the doctor finally called her daughter, me, who spoke perfect English — lo and behold — we had assurances the CAT scan would be found, promises that a conference call would be held on Monday, and apologies for any suffering my mother had gone through for a most regrettable mistake,” her mother said. (Paragraph 7 on page 2) This demonstrates to the reader yet another example of how people don’t bother to try to understand her mother because she speaks in terrible English, yet everything is understood and corrected practically instantaneously when Tan comes in and speaks perfect English. Tan’s powerful diction lets us to comprehend how she feels about how people treat her mother because of the way she speaks English; words like “anxious” and “suffering” allow us to experience what her mother was feeling in that scenario and how difficult it must be to confront such discrimination.

Tan also demonstrates ethos in her essay when she discusses her writing experience and ability. Many teachers have tried to guide Tan in the path of a STEM career because she is Asian-American, but she proves to the reader that she is capable of creating wonderful works by stating that she is a writer, demonstrating her enthusiasm for writing. Tan advocates for not allowing others to discourage you from pursuing what you want to do, which is to express yourself via writing, simply because English is not your first language. “I wanted to portray what language ability tests can never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech, and the substance of her thoughts,” Tan writes at the end of the article. This exactly expresses how she feels about her mother’s bad English: it is her own way of expressing herself, and English is diverse and what you make it out to be.

In this essay, Amy Tan’s use of diction provided for a readily intelligible read, allowing the reader to comprehend what Tan is attempting to depict. Her use of pathos and ethos throughout the article helps readers comprehend her and her mother’s experiences with English and how there is no one-size-fits-all approach to speaking and writing the language. And to always stick to your convictions. This rhetorical analysis is for my pupils, and it’s crucial because it explains what Tan is trying to encourage the listener to do while she talks about her mother’s experiences. She wants us to realize that English is a two-way street. Because I, too, have a mother who speaks bad English, this text helped me rediscover a newfound appreciation for my mother’s English. I used to feel embarrassed when she spoke to people in English, such as ordering food or requesting specific amounts of things, so I would push her aside and say it for her. But what I saw after reading this text that I hadn’t noticed before is that my mother is giving it her all and speaking what she’s saying with confidence and all her might. And instead of being embarrassed, I believe I should be assisting her.

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