Overcoming Obstacles

Essay by allsmiles0530College, UndergraduateA, December 2012

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Overcoming Obstacles

In our daily lives, too often do we judge others based solely on their appearance; whether it's by the clothes that a person is wearing or even the color of their skin. The essence of Amy Tan's Mother Tongue and Peter Marin's Helping and Hating the Homeless is that in society, we are quick to judge others, categorizing them based upon pre-assumptions which are hardly true. Chinese American novelist Amy Tan shares her most intimate experiences of growing up with a mother who did not speak fluent English, and how she witnessed first hand how this shaped the treatment her mother received from others. Marin discusses the contradictory views that society has on the homeless, immediately dismissing the negative stereotypes about the homeless. These negative stereotypes are portrayed by the American society, as well as the media, who consistently portray people as they wish.

Throughout Amy Tan's essay, she describes living at home with a "private" or "limited" English, while using a "different" or "standard" English in public, even though she never noticed a difference most of her life.

While most people would say they understand little to none of her mother's English, Tan claims, "to me my mother's English is perfectly clear, perfectly natural. It's my mother's tongue," (Tan 62). Although most people- including herself- would call her mother's English "broken" or "limited", she strongly dislikes these terms and feels as if these terms directly reflect the way people perceive her mother. She recalls a time when her mother took a CT scan which revealed a brain tumor. During another visit to the hospital , her mother received the results, in which the hospital claimed they lost it and had sympathy for her. Her mother stated "she said she would not leave until the doctor...