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Shristi Bajracharya
Professor Malvin
English 114 A
Mon-Wed 12:30-1:45
30 September 2015
For The Love Of Language
In Amy Tans essay Mother Tongue she explains how she overcame adversities and
managed to pursue a career in writing. As a young immigrant student, she always found herself
being the translator between her mother and other people outside their family. The irony was that
her mother wasnt speaking any other language but English. Coming from China, her mothers
English wasnt the same as everyone elses, so Tan, being her smart young daughter, pretended to
be her at times. Tan faced a lot of difficulties in her life while trying to prove to herself and to
everyone how much she could contribute to the field of English language. I too have been trying
to grow into a phenomenal writer like her since the time I fell in love with reading in high
I didnt speak perfect English at home, my English wasnt good enough to be exposed to
people other than my teachers. Since my mother tongue is Nepali, we mostly conversed in
Nepali with each other at home. Similar to Tans essay, the English that I spoke with my family
was different and it consisted a lot of Nepali words. While I did speak English with my parents at
home, I felt that their English was not perfect and would not help me improve mine. I never

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thought of this English as the right English, nor did I think of I think of it as a slang. For me, it
was simply a language that we had invented, the language I seek comfort in. I wasnt the best in
class, but I wasnt bad either. I wished to excel in English even though I wasnt surrounded by a
suitable environment for it. I tried my best not to use this English outside the house; however,
every once in a while, my tongue would slip and Id find myself speaking a few words that
would make people squint their eyes and wonder what I had just uttered.
English was my favorite subject in school. Although I did feel a bit pessimistic about my
language skills, I never once turned my back against language and literature. I had developed the
habit of reading when I was fourteen and ever since then, I had fallen in love with the fictional
world. I found great comfort in reading and wished to possess the same imaginative minds as
those of the authors.
It may seem strange for someone who wasnt born into an English speaking family to fall
in love with the language but something about words and its power to build an entire imaginary
world had me completely mesmerized. I have always admired language and its abilities. I think
what I share in common with Tan is our love for language. In the second verse of the essay, she
describes how much she is in love with language (478). Tan has eloquently illustrated her love
for language and I can relate to every word she speaks about it. What inspires me most is how
rebellious she was against her obstacles and how she fought all of them to achieve her goal. I
tried my best to write in high school. I believe I was a poor writer, for I lacked imagination and
creativity. This wasnt brought into my realization until my teacher asked me to stop choosing
the fictional topics over the argumentative ones. She advised me to write essays that suit my
ideas better and told me fictional writing was not my field of specialty.

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At first I did agree with my teacher and considered writing non-fiction, but I didnt feel
the same thrill that I felt while writing fiction. So I started writing fiction again, even though I
wasnt really good at it. I had these amazing ideas in my mind that I really wanted to translate
into words, but, I always failed to create the ultimate world that I had intended to build with my
ideas and words. At some point, I believed that writing wasnt meant for me or that I was in love
with something that I could never acquire. I slightly felt like a saddened young fellow in a fairy
tale, who was betrayed by something he loved deeply. I was envious of my classmate who
always managed to get the best grades in English effortlessly. It got worse when the teacher
started reading his essays to the class and praised him for his fine work. My confidence level
dropped so low that I no longer felt the same enthusiasm I used to feel every time I read or
wrote. I wouldnt say I hit rock bottom because I still kept writing even when I lacked the zeal I
previously possessed. I suppose this certain phase that I went through was part of the learning
process. I started reading more and took a keen interest in genres I hadnt touched before. I
fought against the waves of pessimism my mind possessed and tried harder than ever to achieve
my goal. Tan states in her essay how she rebelled against her inhibitions, Fortunately, I happen
to be rebellious in nature and enjoy the challenge of disproving assumptions made about me
(483). Similarly, I felt an urge to prove everyone, including myself, that I could actually write
fiction. I wasnt going to give up something I loved simply because there was a point where I felt
I couldnt meet the average standards for it.
Today, Im still reading and learning how to write. Im not great, but Im not bad either.
Ive come a long way from where Ive started and this gives me enough hope to continue my
journey. I dont blame my family or the different languages I speak every time I fail to write an
essay accurately. If anything, I am grateful for the experiences that I get from speaking different

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languages. They help me write by providing me with all these ideas both humorous and dramatic,
just like how Tan wrote by imagining her mother as the reader and using ideas from her
experience growing up and speaking different languages and incorporating them into her work.
Tan is an inspiring figure who inspires us to rebel against the forces that keep us from achieving
our goals. Especially for a student like me, who loves and enjoys the nature of the English
language, but comes from a background with a different first language. My passion for language
has helped me find direction in life and I wish to master it no matter what adversities I have to
face in between. At the end of the day, I think it is going to be completely worth it.

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Works Cited

Tan, Amy. Mother Tongue. Models For Writers: Short Essays For Composition (Twelfth
Edition). Ed. Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz, Boston, New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2015.
(478-484). Print.