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What is it that makes a person who they are? Can we attribute who we are to our environment, or genetics, or the kind of up bring we are given? Regardless of the variables it is important to establish a sense of self. Discovering who we are as a person can be somewhat of a journey beginning from childhood influences and steaming into adulthood. Asian American author Amy Tan coming into her own involved both learning from her mother as well as rebelling against her. In her story " Mother's Tongue " we see Amy come to appreciate things in her mother she originally saw as flaws and how she incorporated them into her career as a writer. On the contrary in her story "Two Kinds" we see Amy reject her mother's way of trying to shape her and awaken her desire to be her unique self. These stories illustrate two different ways that up bring affects who a person is and how they come into establish a sense of self.
In the story "Mother's Tongue" we start off reading Amy Tan's view of the English language. We see that she doesn't have a traditional view on the English language. She doesn't view English language as a uniform thing. She believes in multiple "Englishes" for example the professional, scholarly English she uses in her professional life and the much less formal English she uses with her mother. When depicting conversations with her mother the conversation would appear to be improper due to, fragmented sentences because it is grammatically incorrect. Amy's mother's way of speaking not only to Amy is what is commonly referred to as "broken English".
At the younger stages of her life Amy recalls feeling embarrassed of her mother's English because of the reaction she got from people. On several occasions Amy served as a sort of translator for her mother when people claimed to be unable to adequately understand her. This in turn made a younger more impressionable Amy feel the need to prove her mastery over the English language. However, Amy realized she was not doing as well academically in English classes as she did in other subjects caused by her perception of English language not being a uniform thing. For Amy the answers to her English test did not make sense because language presented so many possibilities for a fitting answer. It was not precise like other subjects such as math or science. Subjects like math or science are things Amy saw her fellow Asian students pursuing and excelling at but Amy had something to prove and also as foreshadowing for her inner rebel chose to get into writing. What an older Amy later realizes is how much her mother's form of speaking was influencing her at the time." It's my mother tongue. Her language, as I hear it, is vivid, direct, full of observation and imagery. That was the language that helped shape the way I saw things, expressed things, made sense of the world. "Realizing this Amy was able to stop viewing the way she spoke to her mother and the way she spoke outside of home as two separate identities and incorporate both into the writing of her book The Joy Luck Club. What we see in this story is both Amy Tan the individual and Amy Tan the product of her environment. Amy pursued writing out of her own volition on her mission to prove that she could master the English language but Amy finding her identity as a writer and seeing the uniqueness that is the language spoken at home or amongst family is largely due to her mother's influence .
On the contrary to what we see in Mother's Tongue the story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan we don't see Amy learning about herself from her mother but establishing who she is by rebelling against her. Amy begins that story sharing her mother's enthusiasm towards the endless opportunities America presents "You could be anything you wanted in America" is what her mother believed and tried to pass on to her young daughter. Together they pursued the idea of molding Amy into some sort of child prodigy. They
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