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Exploratory Writing #2 (Alternate)
Tan: Mother Tongue
As she describes the process by which she wrote her award-winning novel The Joy Luck Club, Tan explains that she attempted to capture the different varieties of English and Chinese that her mother spoke. She claims that “I sought to preserve the essence, but neither an English nor a Chinese structure. I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: [her mother’s] intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts.” Based on this passage, what do you think Tan values in language and its expression?
And what about you? If you were to write a story that was based on the life or lives of a person or group of people close to you, what aspects of their speech would you most want to capture? What do you value in language and its expression?