Name Instructor Course Date Compare/Contrast of Mother Tongue and the Misery of Silence In the story, Mother Tongue, Amy Tan gives a description of the relationship between her and her mother who cannot speak fluent English because it is not her first language and does not understand it quite well…
This paper compares and contrasts Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and The Misery of Silence by Maxine Kingston in terms of techniques and the use of stylistic devices that include repetition, humor, personification, irony, back shadowing, storytelling, description, metaphors, setting and objectification. Amy Tan has used many rhetorical devices to emphasize the main theme of her story, which are cultural differences. First she uses repetition and this can be seen where she says, “And I use them all- all the Englishes I grew up with…Recently, I was made keenly aware of the different Englishes I do use" (Tan 78). This emphasizes the point that the English used by her mother and the English used by the locals are different ones. This shows the cultural differences between immigrants and the locals. Direct speech, sincere tone, The other rhetorical device is personification. This is clearly seen in the phrase, “the intersection of memory upon imagination” (Tan 79). This again emphasizes the different English she speaks, one that is native and the other broken, as used by her mother. Amy Tan also uses anecdotes, such as “At this point in the story” (from paragraph five and on) (Tan 77). This is used to pull the attention of the reader and maintain it as she explains the difference of the effects of the languages she is exposed to. Both Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and The Misery of Silence by Maxine Kingston have used humor that comes through language. In Mother Tongue, Amy Tan’s mother speaks in broken English because she does not understand the whole English language because she is an immigrant. Tan’s mother speaks freely because she thinks that her English is good. However, when she realizes that her English is not good she lets her daughter do the talking on the phone instead of her. This is humorous. The Misery of Silence presents Maxine’s difficulty in speaking English when she moved to America. In the first three years in America, she did not speak at all. The humor is clearly brought out when Maxine and her sister recited the lesson in front of the class. They recited as if they wanted to cry but went on until they finished the recitation (Kingston 209). Maxine Kingston also uses several rhetorical devices. First, Kingston has used back shadowing. For example, this is seen where she starts the narration and she says, “When I went to kindergarten and had to speak English for the first time, I became silent” (Kingston 208). This helps her to narrate her story and help the reader understand the experiences she encountered when she was a child. The back-shadowing helps the audience identify with the experiences that she passed through. Maxine also uses objectification where she says, “My silence was thickest - total - during the three years that I covered my school paintings with black paint” (Kingston 209). She objectifies the silence to make the audience feel the strength that the silence had and its extent. Maxine also uses direct speech in the story. This is seen where she includes her father’s response to the pictures, by saying, “The parents and teachers of criminals were executed”, said my father. This shows the extent to which she was problematic both to teachers and to parents. Maxine has also used a simile where she says, “was a tie-tac-toe mark, like barbed wire, on the map” (Kingston 209). This is meant to emphasize the fact that the Japanese kids were arrogant. In mother tongue, Amy Tan ...
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