Danbur's Sympathy and Tan's Mother Tongue

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA ・2 Sources

The aim of this paper is to examine Tan's Mother Tongue and Dunbar's Sympathy. In different ways, the two authors used the speech to meet their intended audience. Tan is thinking about how her past has given her guilt, kept her trapped in two cultures, and influenced her education and her life. Dunbar, on the other hand, reveals to the audience any difficult dilemma he has faced in his life as a result of being born into a family where his parents were slaves, and he compares his life to a bird stuck in a cage. Furthermore, the writers have used vocabulary in a variety of ways to communicate themselves to their intended audience. Mother Tongue was written by an Asian-America writer whose works centered mostly on mother-daughter relationships. It is for the reason that she was raised by her mother who was a Chinese and spoke English which was hard for several individuals to comprehend. Tan recognized the difference since she talked like her mother whenever they were together. In the essay, Mother Tongue, Amy Tan is contemplating how her background has brought her shame, held her between two worlds as well as affected her education and her life. Tan discovered her voice through spending time with her mother who spoke broken English. Despite that, she was able to become a writer. This is because she was very determined and ready to use others criticism to make it work for her. Tan changed her major to English from pre-med as well as chose to be a freelance writer although her manager said to her that she cannot write (Tan, 886). Tan finally decided to write fiction; Tan celebrates the reality that she never took into consideration other people’s opinions about her due to her struggle with language as well as writing. Her mother was her great inspiration. Therefore, she chose to write her stories for individuals similar to her, that is persons speaking English that is “limited” or “broken.”
Paul Laurence Dunbar authored the poem sympathy. In the poem, Paul expresses to his target audience every tough problem he has experienced throughout her life. He is associating his life to a bird which is trapped in a cage, whereas all things outside or around of the cage are living as well as growing. He has used the description of being trapped in a cage to relate to his situation of failing to acquire a job which suits him well with no person mocking his race. He expresses how life is similar to being caged and how he cannot get out regardless of her endless efforts and what he says or does. As the song continues, it sincerely describes the terrible life of the bird in the cage. Well, the bird in the cage is a metaphor for the speaker is talking about the lack of freedom and oppression. Since Paul Laurence durbar, the poet-writer was an African-American, he was describing the lack of liberty that was experienced by the African-American people in 1899 when he published the poem sympathy (Dunbar, 1502).
The target audience for both works is children. Tan’s work shows how children who are raised in a family whose parents come from the different cultural background are always affected for instance that affected her language and education while Dunbar portrays the kinds of cages that children with parents as slaves’ encounter and expresses the agony that such children experience (Dunbar, 1881). Their parents and life experiences are what influenced their works. Tan was motivated to reclaim the respect for her mother, a Chinese immigrant with problematic spoken English whereas Dunbar’s parents had been born into slavery and he had a difficult life while growing up (Tan, 887). Both uses broken and standard English in their works. For instance, Dunbar uses slangy English like blackbirds. Also, Dunbar uses symbolic, vivid and descriptive linguistic to depict images in his poetry of racism that African Americans faced and the senseless prejudices.
In conclusion, Amy Tan successfully argues for equal consideration towards Non-Standard English speakers, with effective use of her personal experiences as evidence, challenging person’s assumption that those never speaks perfectly tends not to think perfectly. Her argument has several resemblances with specifically in their consensus on cultural diversity. While Dunbar expresses how life is similar to being caged and how he cannot get out regardless of his endless efforts and what he says or does. Both works have the same target audience and have been influenced by their past life experiences and their parents.

Works Cited

Dunbar, Paul Laurence. "Sympathy." Poetry of the Negro 1476–1970 (1970).
Tan, A. Mother Tongue, Context of Inquiry, A Guide to Research and Writing at the University of Washington, p. 886-p. 890 (1990).

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