Women, who moved away from their native home countries when they were young, write the two essays. They have gone through many struggles trying to adapt to the new environment. The first text ‘Mother Tongue by Amy Tan’ talks about her experience as a young girl through to adulthood. She is from a Chinese family, who moved to the United States of America when she was young. Her mother knows how to speak English, but not everyone can understand her.
Amy can however understand her perfectly. Maybe it is because she grew up with her or maybe it is because she has learnt how to translate what she says. Her mother tongue has a lot of impact on her studies she does not perform well in English tests like in the other subjects. The way her mother is attended to in many places is not right; many people assume her or pretend not to understand her. Amy has learnt to appreciate her mother and tries to make her feel appreciated and not undermined by talking to her using the same English she uses when addressing her, (Spack, 46).
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The Veil by Marjane Satrapi, on the other hand, is about a ten-year-old girl who experiences war. Schools are separated, boys and girls are taken to different schools, and girls are forced to wear veils. Her mother protest against the wearing of veils, but she gives up when she is seen in the national newspaper. Her life is torn between the religious aspect of life and the social standing. Her family is very religious and modern, but she wonders why their house cleaner has to eat in the kitchen.
The purpose of these texts is to show how the surroundings that children grow in affect their life. Amy is affected by her mother’s language. It is a language she learns to understand and appreciate. She even goes ahead and defends her mother from those who abuse her. She tells of the struggles she and her mother have to go through because her mother cannot speak fluent English. Marjane on the other hand is torn between religion and politics. She grows up during a time when Iran was undergoing revolution. Her parents are taking part in the protests and she wants to join them. Both texts talk about the lives of two young girls, who are affected by the different circumstances in their lives caused by their immediate surroundings.
The two test are trying are trying to find out why people treat each other differently; why someone has grown up to be the way they are, and the circumstances that led to the situation. Amy grew up with a Chinese mother in a foreign country where they had to learn to speak English as their first language. Amy knows English as her first language. However, the English she grew up listening to was the broken English spoken by her mother. Satrapi, on the other hand, is trying to understand why her family and country are in fighting and why the girls and boys are separated and girls forced to wear veils.
Both texts are trying to explain the different values in the author’s life. Amy values her mother a lot and appreciates her despite her poorly spoken English. She values her mother tongue and is able to relate to her in the same English. She values her cultural values, which includes the broken English spoken by her mother. Satrapi, on the other hand, also values religion and even imagines a god in her mind and tries to reason with him why there is a lot of fighting and why their house cleaner eats in the kitchen and grandmothers knees are aching, (Schroeder, 98).
The readers of these two texts have much to learn from them. The first one is what do we learn from the two texts. The two writers make the reader aware of the effects one childhood has on that particular person when they grow up. Culture matters a lot in defining a person. Amy sticks to her culture, knows that her mother even though she speaks broken English is her guide, and has molded her to become the person she is. The reader is able to understand the situation that led to the current situation. Amy explains why she never performed well in English as she does in sciences and in maths. Satrapi makes the reader aware of the conflicts in her family and her need to erase suffering by wanting to be a prophet. She sees the suffering her grandmother goes through and wants to reduce her suffering and make sure that the house cleaner eats with the rest of the family.
The text is trying to make the reader to appreciate the need to treat everyone equally despite his or her social background and religious standing. When reading the text the way one usually sees something changes. My take on the mother tongue before reading the text was that it is the native language that one learns from their people. This changed after reading the text. I discovered that my perspective of mother tongues was wrong. I realized that mother tongue is the language that the person, who is raising you, uses and this becomes the first language one learns. The view of a person on an issue depends on the person himself or herself. Amy was ashamed of her mother when she was young, but has learnt to accept her for who she is and even appreciates her. This changed when she realized that that was what her mother could speak and that she was trying her best to speak fluently.
The texts play a major role in persuading the reader and the entire community to appreciate their cultures and most important is to instill the value of one’s culture from the time they are still young. Doing this will help the children as they grow up to be proud of their cultures and be able to utilize it.
There are people in the community, who derive pleasure from criticizing other people and making fun of them or even ignoring them due to their poorly spoken language or their religious rules. These texts help in deterring such people as they can see the pains and humiliation they go through as the struggle to get acceptance from the rest of the society. The reader is also encouraged by this text to believe in oneself and in ones religious and cultural believes despite what the other people think.
The struggles of writers in life with their different religions and education requirements using first person narrator gives the required mood for the reader. A reader is able to go through the life of the writer by reading the text giving the reader a feeling that the writer went through in her life. The reader can therefore, start respecting and appreciating those who are of a lower social class and those who do not seem to understand or speak a certain language fluently.
The impact that the two texts have on the readers is that of enabling the reader to understand the different setting of different cultures and the need to treat the other person right and being able to make people understand why you cannot do certain things.
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