Week 10: Adichie and DALN

Pick one of your best paragraphs from your revised paper and explain why it’s written well. Answer the following two questions: What specific things did you do that we have discussed in class? What phrases did you write that make you proud or make you think?

Answer one of the following two questions: Where do you see Adichie’s “single stories” in the DALN narratives? (Choose one to respond to.) Along the lines of our discussion of Bechdel, does seeing and hearing Adichie add to her argument and why?

Please also take at least fifteen minutes to complete a mid-semester reflection to share with me, for sure, and your classmates if you want to. (You can either email it to me or post it here.) Go back and review your blog posts and your freewrites and your classroom participation and presence. What are you most proud of in these realms? What would you like to work on? (We should all have both pride in what we’ve done and aspirations for the future.) What parts of our course have been the most useful or thought-provoking for you? What would you like to see us do in the second half of the semester? What is one specific way we could adapt the concept of mapping into our course? Please answer all five questions and be as specific as you’d like.

Finally, complete this mapping assignment I mentioned two weeks ago (it’s fun!). (This is the one that might get us in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

16 comments
  1. Literacy narratives are a firsthand account of one’s experience when it comes to their education. There are many aspects of one’s education that can go into a literacy narrative. According to Mary Soliday, it is not just simply about how you obtained language, how you write, and how you read (Soliday 514). There are so many more aspects when it comes to a literacy narrative. A person’s experience when it comes to their education is often related to how they see themselves, how other people can relate to the individual, and even how cultural identity can shape and form who you become. By looking at Amy Tan’s piece and focusing in on Mary Soliday’s key points from “Translating Self and Difference through Literacy Narrative” on what makes a literacy narrative a literacy narrative we are truly able to understand why Tan’s piece, “Mother Tongue” is a literacy narrative.
    After looking through my paper, I think this is my best paragraph. I think this brings in my points that I was trying to make throughout my paper. I used quotes to back up my points like we discussed in class. I think the sentence that I am most proud of would be, “A person’s experience when it comes to their education is often related to how they see themselves, how other people can relate to the individual, and even how cultural identity can shape and form who you become.” It makes me think about our last paper and writing our own literary narratives.
    After watching Adichie’s talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” I think it really makes you understand where she is coming from. She talks about how she had these pre conceived notions of the boy who worked at her house when she was younger. She talks about how she didn’t think that his family would know how to make anything because she was always told that he was so poor and that made her judge him because that was all she knew. She then talks about how she was completely shocked when she first when to college and her roommate had these preconceived notions of her. It was because of this situation that she began to think why her roommate had these ideas of her. While she was speaking about this, you could really tell that she was bothered by what her roommate had said, but at the same time you can see that she had gradually learned to accept that fact as to why her friend said what she said.
    When I look back to blog posts and think about the discussions we’ve had in class, I think what I am most proud of is how I pushed myself to think further and questioned things. The thing I would like to work on is maybe participating more in in-class discussions. Our most recent discussion on our educational system has by far been the most thought provoking for me.

  2. The paragraph from my paper that I chose is:
    Frederick Douglass struggled everyday to believe that he would not be a slave for life. His literacy brought him closer to this belief because he was already achieving something that slaves were not given the opportunity to. Douglass was breaking free from the label given to him as a slave. He was creating his own personal identity because of literacy. This is what separated Douglass from his struggle. This section of the narrative is based on Douglass creating who he was through his literacy. He did not want to give up. He continued to read and write until he successfully linked meaning to what he was doing. “I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it.” (Douglass 5) Freedom was always present in his mind. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel. It was the reason he was trying so hard. It was his way out. “I wished to learn how to write, as I might have occasion to write my own pass” (6) He was not going to let freedom pass him by. He was so determined to grasp the first glimpse of freedom that he came across. If given the chance, he would grant his own freedom.

    I think that this paragraph is written well because it has evidence from the text to back it up. The quotes justify the point I am making. It emphasizes how important Douglass’s literacy was for him. I like how he said that he was breaking free from his label that was given to him as a slave. His motive was to achieve freedom. It makes me think about how freedom was always on his mind. There were so many long days and long nights, but he had his literacy. His hope was giving him the strength to carry on. I said that he was not going to let freedom pass him by. I supported this with what Douglass wrote. This shows how willing Douglass was to be free of slavery.

    Seeing and hearing Adichie does add to her argument because it makes it stronger. It brings it to life. It’s really intriguing to hear and listen to her because it emphasizes how real her stories are. I liked getting to see her facial expressions and reactions. She emphasizes her experience with the perception of there only being one story. I like when she mentions her roommate and how her roommate was shocked when Adichie spoke English and the musical interests that she had. We even get to hear her sense of humor. The way that she speaks shows that she is proud of who she is. Seeing and hearing her connects us to who she is an individual. She is not just an author, but a real person with experiences.

  3. Daniela, This is great! I especially appreciate your attention to Adichie – this will help us with our class discussion.

    Prof. A.

  4. Toward the end, it becomes definite that Anzaldúa will not be stripped of her culture. She will not be shamed her way out of it. Her blossoming toward the end is quite inspiring. She says, “ I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent tongue – my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.” (Anzaldúa, 2951) Thus corresponding to Soliday’s thought of “when they are able to evaluate their experiences form an interpretive perspective, authors achieve narrative agency by discovering that their experience is, in fact, interpretable.” (511-512) Everything Anzaldúa preaches can be interpreted by every single reader. It can relate to everyone and into many different things. Whether it is about sexuality, race, religion, culture, language. To be able to write something that everyone can take and apply, es poniendo la sal encima de mi aguacate. With that last quote from Anzaldua, she told us she wasn’t going to be ashamed, she was proud and wasn’t going to be made to feel any less than that. Her mother tongue was her everything.

    I chose this paragraph because I feel it’s the strongest. I backed up what I said about Anzaldúa, that she wouldn’t be stripped of her culture. I made sure I had evidence and I cited that. I believe it is strong, possibly because of the language I used, and because of the quotes. The quotes from Anzaldúa are passionate and strong as well. It’s exotic the way she writes, and it definitely supported what I said.

    The single story that interests me the most is the one where Adichie was speaking at a University and a student said that it is a shame that all Nigerian men are physically abusive within the households like the father character in her novel. Her response was that she was reading “American Psycho” and “it is a shame that young americans are serial killers”. She obviously has a sense of humor, and that’s what makes her so intriguing. Humor is what makes me listen, a regular lecture will help daydream about the future I hope for and think about my cringe worthy past. But humor will forever have my attention. I am able to watch the video again, and pay close attention. She has a talent, not being able to get my attention, but the attention of millions. Seeing and hearing her argument live rather than reading it, is easier and more close. Her voice, her accent makes it easier.

  5. When writing my paper the paragraph that I felt most attached to is this one:
    What is the truth about not being able to speak the same way as others? Does that make them more inept? “broken?” Tan questions “But I wince when I say that. It has always bothered me that I can think of no way to describe it other than “broken.” (Tan, 2) Having the ability to grasp the flow of a language in a completely different way does not necessarily mean it is a bad way of speaking; it is just different. In fact Tam explains that she encourages her mother to speak in her very unique English “I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and nature of her thoughts.” (Tan, 5) Tan takes it a step further and incorporates her mothers kind of English into her own vocabulary. “And I use them all- – all the Englishes I grew up with.” (Tan, 1) To her, language is more than sounds put together, it is something that she has in common with the people she loves, it is a deeper connection that only her family shares. “It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with.” (Tan, 1) In the end people can look at others and try to copy them or they can incorporate their lifestyle into society.

    When writing this paragraph I made sure to include lot of evidence to support my argument and I think that was a big factor discussed in class a lot. I also liked the transitions from the quote to my ideas. The sentence that I feel relates to many people is “To her, language is more than sounds put together, it is something that she has in common with the people she loves, it is a deeper connection that only her family shares.” I feel that it has a powerful motive for the readers to be interested in reading my paper.

    Adichi explained in her speech that there is rarely, if ever, one story revolving a place or event or even a person. It is not thought about often especially in the American culture but nevertheless, it is true. In one of the DALN that I listened to called “What we can learn from games” the idea that games can be useful to us is discussed.The message that caught my interest was when the person being interviewed mentioned how he was able to choose a different character from the same game and become the villain. I thought this connected nicely with what Adichi said, about how there is always another story behind something. It also reminded me of a time when I was younger and I played this game called “Sonic The Hedgehog and Shadow” It was the first time that I was given the option to play the villain. Usually I hated the villain, but when i actually became the villain; I loved it. I realized how he was not evil, rather he was complex and had reasons for doing what he did.

  6. In “Reading Literacy Narratives” Janet Carey Eldred and Peter Mortensen states that the argument of not having oral and literate behavior correlate is due to culture, “This line of inquiry has led to new definitions of literacy that rejects the strict separation of oral and literate behavior and instead see literacy as a set of cultural actions intimately tied to issues of ‘culture’: class, race, gender, place, and so on” (514), if the issues of culture are separated it makes it difficult for people to be able to communicate with others. Also not sharing the traditional cultures in order to learn from one another, due to the characteristics of the line of inquiry problems increased having people doubt on each other.
    I feel that this is one of my strongest paragraphs because language plays an important role to distinguish the person’s culture. Also it proves the person’s cultural background and also may not affect their writing. The quote itself from Eldred and Mortensen demonstrate that the issues of culture tell a story of the person.
    After watching Adichie speak about the personal experiences of what makes the multimodal literacy “The Danger of a Single Story,” it shows how her life was critiqued by others without knowing the truth. She mentions media being part of the negativity of the being exposed to reality. Everyone view cultures are the way it is presented to them. She the used her culture Africa, that is seen as poor, sick like HIV, and that the only way to get out of it is the help of the whites. Her experiences demonstrates the difficulties that she has to overcome especially the negative comments from her roommate, and teachers.

  7. I choose this paragraph:A literacy narrative is a story based on a person’s perspective. Most say it is a personal story, but to be more specific it is actually an account of an experience of the narrator in which they speak about a time reading and/or writing helped them to learn something significant. Writing a short story about how you learned to read and write and simply not enough for some writers which one can see with Frederick Douglass ; you begin to learn that it is consisted of much more points that weren’t apparent to you before. Frederick Douglass created a narrative which gave the reading audience an insight into how learning basic literacy (alphabets) provided an important key into achieving his freedom and how he accomplished learning whatever he did(Douglass 7). Two authors, Beth Daniell and Mary Soliday both created writing pieces in which they mainly speak about what exactly is found in a literacy narrative and how it all fits together. They provide some very important points which can show that Douglass’ story is considered a literacy narrative.

    The reason I chose this was because It was the beginning of my essay and I believe that the intro and conclusion in an essay are the most important paragraphs as they introduce and properly close what exactly you are about to say in your writing. I re-read this aloud to myself in order to correct it. I agree with

    After watching Adichie speak about her child hood and her preconceived notions about things can seriously show ignorance. I would like to mention chava’s example about sonic and shadow and how shadow is misunderstood and not really a villain. Sometimes we tend to misunderstand people’s true motives and this can be seen with comic book characters. Take for example batman; he can be considered chaotic good because he does what ever it takes to stop all forms of evil. While the police see this as evil because he technically is breaking the law so technically he can be considered a bad person.

    I don’t have anything that I’m really proud of sort to say ,but I do enjoy participating in english class constantly although recently I’ve gotten into a sort of slump and have gotten lazy. I’m attempting to come back to my original state. I want to work on my next paper, I want my research paper to be very good. I think the first 4 weeks of the course have been the most interesting. I see myself returning to my original work style of english. I think we could spend every 20 minutes before class ends and incorporate the mapping project into english.

    1. Islam,

      The prompt asks you to analyze the paragraph in specific ways. It’s not enough to say that it’s important because of its role in the paper.

    2. I also feel this is my strongest paragraph because it goes into the history of Frederick Douglass and his journey to gaining literacy. This is an important thing as it sort of defines what my essay is going to talk about. I also bring up Mary Soliday into the discussion as she talks a lot about literacy.

  8. Language is very often considered something that all of us take for granted. Something we learn when we are so young that we can’t even remember how, where and when, but it’s always a part of our lives. In other words, our experience with learning language shapes your sense of self-identity. In Amy Tan’ “Mother Tongue”she explain how language plays a role in shaping speakers’ perspectives and identity with society. Tan uses different kinds of Englishes which exist in this world and how she become a successful writer. She began to noticing the type of English she used in her books and her mother. She belief that growing up with broken English used by her mother was a drawback to achieve high score in English test(pg. 3). Frederick Douglass’ narrative, “Learning to read and write” shows the ways of learning and the association of literacy with freedom. Both literacy narrative are similar because they talk about how language helped and hurt them.
    When writing an essay one of the most important task was coming up with a thesis. The opening sentence is the most important part of my essay. I believe my introduction is the best paragraph because i explained the argument and detail of essay as possible. It was shows a map of my paper.
    After watching and reading “The Danger of a Single story” i learned interesting fact about “single stories”. In general what is a single story a story of a single person or a view of someone on one sided story which is incomplete and untrue and it steal people of their dignity and make a stereotype. We should not believe or prejudice or form of general opinions based on the single stories.One should hear all stories whether its good or bad before making any judgement .Adichie also explains that many single stories is about culture, place and person which is untrue.

  9. The paragraph I choose was: Alisha also informs us about how the different version of English a person speaks can sometimes make them feel as if they are a stranger to themselves. “Her Dilemma is how she can learn to become a fluent speaker of “many versions” without becoming “a stranger to” herself. (pg 519). Once again the idea that the way one speaks can often times hinder or confine them is reinforced. It is often times difficult to learn to maintain a standard way of speaking due to cultural, environmental and societal influences. The key to language however should be its diversity. It is the versatility in the way others speak a certain language that makes language itself expressive, unique and dynamic.
    One thing I did that we discuss in class was support my claim with evidence from the text, then analyze it.
    A point that I was proud of was actually in another paragraph when I wrote: “Thus, one’s language is like a stimulus, evoking the correct reactions only when it is received in the proper way.” I think it made me delve deeper between the lines and really understand the meaning of Tan’s text.
    Seeing and hearing Adichie does make a difference. She speaks with such strength and humor that really captivates the audience. I read a piece by W.E.B. Du Bois back in high school and it was quite similar to Adichie’s stance on stereotypes. People do have preconceived notions on individuals based on where they come from. The societal structure of classifying individuals based on their ethnicity creates isolated communities that thwarts harmony amongst citizens and limits their progress. I wrote that back then in high school, but I think it’s what Adichie is also trying to say.

  10. The paragraph I chose was:
    Literacy narratives contain a writer’s journey of their language and help awaken the writer’s sense of how intricate language is. It’s throughout their recounting of their language that they begin to realize that language holds depth and that there isn’t just one discrete language used, there’s many. Literacy narratives in the end help the writer realize that their language is more complex than imagined and that to truly realize this you must analyze your language yourself. This is exactly what Tan did throughout her piece Mother Tongue which is why her writing can be considered a literacy narrative. It contained what language meant to her and how it affected her relations amongst herself, her family, and outsiders. It was an overall analysis of the language that she uses day to day and how it affects her on a deeper level. With the addition of stylistic choices such as orientation, evidence, and keywords, it makes apparent where Tan started from and how past events contributed to her opinion of language. Tan was left with a positive outlook on her language because she didn’t feel the need to change how she spoke or to distance herself but more accept this newfound revelation. It’s due to literacy narratives that the reader can gain insight on how others perceive their language. To get to read about this is simply amazing and for me as a reader, it leaves a lasting impact on how I see my own language. Even though I only speak English, I still have many variations of it, therefore making it my own Englishes.

    I chose this paragraph because this was where I was able to really analyze the two text I was using and come up with a concluding idea that summed up my view. One thing that I did that we discussed in class was to add evidence in the places I had analysis (but I didn’t site since it was the conclusion) so I just wasn’t making random claims. I also reread this (along with the rest of my paper) to make sure it sounded right. The phrase that made me really proud of myself was when I wrote “Even though I only speak English, I still have many variations of it, therefore making it my own Englishes.” That’s because its here I’m making a text to self connection. I made a revelation that I would never thought of without reading these texts.

    Hearing and seeing Adichie really did make a huge difference. Watching her speak with such grace and openness made me appreciate her work more and made me want to see more of her. Her whole posture and presentation was calm and confident with not a hint of hostility. And her humor just went to show I have no hard feelings over the single stories people place upon me, but it pushes me on to tell them multiple so they aren’t misguided by one. Just watching her speak added so much power to her story and what she had to say and it was truly incredible. It made her argument that much more profound because its showing she not here to judge anyone for having the wrong misconception, she is simply here to laugh it off and allow her audience to embrace a new conception or many.

  11. “According to Mary Soliday, the literacy narrative could be an autobiography, or a medium “that foreground issues of language acquisition and literacy” (Soliday 511). Soliday goes on to explain that the literacy narrative is one’s personal journey of language that can be “unusual or strange” (Soliday 511). With that I will use Soliday’s piece “Translating Self and Difference through Literacy Narratives” to show that while they are two very different pieces; “Learning to Read and Write” by Frederick Douglass, and Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” are both different examples of what can be classified as literacy narratives. By looking at both pieces, they both fall into the parameters dictated by what we will learn from Mary Soliday. Both Douglass and Tan wrote autobiographically about their “issues of language acquisition and literacy” (Soliday 511). “At their best, literacy narratives provide a space where students… can defamiliarize their ordinary language use and perform imaginative acts of self-representation” (Soliday 522) and both Douglass and Tan exemplify that, in two very different ways.”
    I chose my introduction as the paragraph I’m most proud of. I chose it because I think it exemplifies what we were debating in class about bringing in evidence to your introduction. I brought in evidence to back up my assertions and continued to do so through out the paper. “By looking at both pieces, they both fall into the parameters dictated by what we will learn from Mary Soliday.” I like this sentence because it ties the introduction together on both ends. More importantly, I truly believe it leads into a well written, well argued piece of work. I don’t make the whole argument but do give a glimpse into my approach.
    I read Nachia Woods “But I Lived” from the DALN archives (http://daln.osu.edu/handle/2374.DALN/752). Her piece was very compelling, as she dealt with fighting her own single story narrative. She felt that because of her origins, her upbringing, her background, she couldn’t be an eloquent speaker. She felt that the southern drawl she possessed, the “ghetto” in her, would prevent her from truly getting recognition for her academic accomplishments, and she tried to suppress her. Woods’ grandmother had to show her that women of color, like Charlotta Bass and Sojourner Truth, embraced who they were and were still able to be successful.
    I don’t know that seeing and hearing Adichie’s argument strengthened its meaning for me but I was definitely more in tune to what she saying. She is very well spoken and truly knows how to deliver her point. I’m not sure that every writer has that capability.
    I am proud of most of my blog posts. I think I was really able to find connections in our readings, and my ability to analyze text has gotten better. I think our classroom discussions are very useful in helping figure out different aspects of the writings. For the second half of the semester, I think it would be beneficial to go over the proper process of constructing an academic paper.

  12. Seeing and hearing Adichie share her strengthens the arguments she materializes about the danger of the “single story”. Compared to Bechdel, both writers emphasize the importance of visual art. In Bechdel’s case, she utilizes the graphic novel to share her narrative with artwork that is intimate in a sense that it is quite personal. Bechdel forces these drawings upon the reader, making it a given necessity to understand her piece. Adichie is the contrary, she does not draw us a picture, rather she utilizes herself as an artform. She forces the image of herself in order for the audience to commence assumptions based on her physical appearance. As I discussed in class, the essence of Adichie’s being, her African accent, her “chocolate” skin, and her “kinky” hair portrayed the weakness of social culture. No previous knowledge of Adichie, Adhicie’s physical appearance will segue into our thoughts and hinder our ability to keep an open mind. We would assume from her African accent that English is her second language. We would assume that her dark skin shines a residue oppression from the “elite”. We would assume that her hair covered in an African turban is a stigma of her “kinky” hair rather than a fashion statement. Adichie wants us to delve into these assumptions about her physical appearance to prove that the danger of the “single story” lies in our ignorance and preconceived notions. Adichie reading her piece shatters the illusion of ignorance.
    One of the DALN videos I came across was an interview of a student that attended OSU named Warren Francis, who has impaired hearing. As a child Francis struggled to be treated normally in his education but because of his disability some of the schools he attended gave him no option to excel; even though they knew he was “gifted” and gifted in being literate. His education hindered his ability due to an assumption that students with a certain disability such as Francis were considered “slow” and would not be able to comprehend.
    One thing I am proud of for the semester is my blog posts. I consider myself a “blogger”, I do keep a private journal online as well as a Tumblr where I post some of my poetry. I enjoy writing in the blog form, I enjoy the informal posts, and I simply enjoy sharing my thoughts with an audience who will “understand”. I love our class discussions and how there I never nearly a dull moment in class. For the second half of the semester, I definitely would love to see the alexie/bechdel project come to a finish as well as prepare ourselves for our final papers.
    I think my best paragraph from my essay would be my introduction. I noticed that I included the reader to be a part of the discussion of literacy and what it means to be literate by simply stating “consider the state of being literate.” This allowed them to construct their personal thoughts on literacy, etc. In this paragraph, I introduced the key terms “literacy” and “liminal” to further develop a thesis about literacy narratives. Citing Soliday strengthened my point. My introduction played a crucial part on how I chose to structure my essay

  13. From this quote, it is clear that mother tried her best to cope up with English. In Soliday’s “Translating Self and Difference through Literacy Narratives”, Alisha analyzed that “Hoffman portrays the crossing of boundaries as a continual, lifelong process of shuttling back and forth between the Polish of her past and the English of her present.” (Mary Soliday, page 521) This sentence legitimized how Amy Tan’s mother speaks in that broken way, because it is difficult for one to think back and forth between the two extreme languages, such as, Chinese and English. The situation of Amy Tan’s mother is an example of multiculturalism; she has to sway in between two cultures: Chinese and American.

    I am proud of this paragraph because I spent a lot of time on this part thinking how I should revise this sentence, or even if I should still keep this if I cannot give more evidence to it. When I was thinking about the revision, I kept in mind the exercise we practiced (assertion, evidence and analyze) in class, and it helped me to think. I went back to Mary Soliday’s essay, and see how I can elaborate more on my thought, and not just end my thoughts the way I ended before.

    After seeing and hearing Adichie’s “Single Stories”, it helps the reader to understand what type of a person she is. From the video, I could see that she is optimistic and passionate about her life. She started introducing her childhood and how her childhood was full of happiness, unlike the other authors’ childhood. She has a great sense of humor because she conveyed her point to the audience through smooth presentations/transitions. Her discussion about “Single Stories” is really authentic and realistic. It’s just the stereotype people have towards certain groups in the society. People are only getting expose to one of the versions of the story, and that limits the scope of knowledge and wisdom of people. People should not listen and stick to one story; people should investigate their own version of the story.

  14. I believe that this paragraph is written well because it shows the multiple occasions in which Tan displays the amount of patients and tenacity it took to push through not only other peoples thoughts about her mother and her lack of knowledge in the English language, but Tans own ideas and perceptions of her mother. This paragraph displays many examples in which Tan had to help her mother and use her mother tongue to translate the world for her mother. I felt the quote that I put in, ” Even years after her heated argument with the stockbroker, her mother still lacked the ability or let alone, the respect of others to be taken seriously. It wasn’t until Tan’s involvement with the matter where she spoke clear English, which earned her the respect of the practitioners to resolve the matter, a matter which at its best, a life and death scenario, it appears that this event is the point in which Tan begins to make a solid bridge as to how the relationship she shares with her mother really developed and flourished. “I think my mother’s English almost had an effect on limiting my possibilities in life as well.” I feel that this analysis of the longer quote in the book really highlights the meaning behind Tans actions. I feel that they show how she has evolved from resenting her mothers lack of knowledge to understanding and nurturing her for it. I feel after watching the Adichie film, the repetition of the theme of pre-conceived perceptions becomes truly something interesting. Adichie describes the experience of a boy who worked in her house and how him and his family were looked upon as people who couldn’t make anything. Later on in her life she is astonished that a roommate in college had preconceived notions of her. This translate back to how the stockbroker in Tan’s narrative treated her mother a certain way, as well as from her doctor.
    My Paragraph
    Tan’s literacy narrative tell the tale of how an author came to master the English language in their own way and be able to translate their ideals to others. In a sense it is an opportunity to be able to see the writing process in action. “Literacy narratives become sites of self-translation where writers from diverse cultures a way to their experience with language as usual or strange” (Soliday 511). This quote attempts to explain the story behind what every author puts into their literacy narratives along with their work, and is even quite more evident in Tan’s work as she describes her experiences with her mother. Tan has transitioned from having a great disdain towards her mother, where she was embarrassed of her lack of knowledge in the English language, to helping her mother throughout her adolescence and ultimately forgetting about her issues with the language for a long period of time. “We used a similar routine just five days ago, for a situation that was far less humorous. My mother had gone to the hospital for an appointment, to find out about a benign brain tumor a CAT scan had revealed a month ago. She said she had spoken very good English, her best English, no mistakes… She said they did not seem to have any sympathy when she told them she was anxious to know the exact diagnosis, since her husband and son had both died of brain tumors… when the doctor finally called her daughter, me, who spoke in perfect English — lo and behold — we had assurances the CAT scan would be found, promises that a conference call on Monday would be held, and apologies for any suffering my mother had gone through for a most regrettable mistake” (Tan 3). Even years after her heated argument with the stockbroker, her mother still lacked the ability or let alone, the respect of others to be taken seriously. It wasn’t until Tan’s involvement with the matter where she spoke clear English, which earned her the respect of the practitioners to resolve the matter, a matter which at its best, a life and death scenario, it appears that this event is the point in which Tan begins to make a solid bridge as to how the relationship she shares with her mother really developed and flourished. “I think my mother’s English almost had an effect on limiting my possibilities in life as well. Sociologists and linguists probably will tell you that a person’s developing language skills are more influenced by peers. But I do think that the language spoken in the family, especially in immigrant families which are more insular, plays a large role in shaping the language of the child (Tan 3)”

Leave a Reply