Writer discussed: Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” (Link to story)
Amy Tan is speaking of writing her book “Joy Luck Club” (there’s a scene below), so in that sense it works as a good example of a literacy narrative in that Tan writes about writing something. But where Tan really gets to something deep, is this idea how we acquire language.
Language is the tool of my trade. And I use them all — all the Englishes I grew up with.
So it’s also a literacy narrative on her experience with language, specifically her mother’s “broken English.” She talks about this idea of using multiple englishes. While we didn’t all grow up Chinese, is it possible to grow up speaking multiple Englishes? What are your different types of Englishes? What I think works the most is how Tan is able to bring it back to a literacy narrative about writing the novel and at the same time resolving the conflict growing up with her mother’s “broken English.”
I later decided I should envision a reader for the stories I would write. And the reader I decided upon was my mother, because these were stories about mothers.
This idea for having an audience in mind while writing is so key and something I forget it a lot. Who do you write for? And back to this idea of finding your own voice that is in the mother’s words “So easy to read.”