Mother Tongue

Rhetorical Techniques in Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue"

As anyone who has ever been in an argument can tell you, what you say is often far less important than how you say it. Even in other less-aggressive circumstances, perception is generally far more important than substance -- this is certainly the case when it comes to politics, and often the case in more personal situations and relationships. When it comes to more serious and supposedly more rigorous fields such as literary analysis, philosophy, and social commentary, the playing with subjectivities of individual perception is called rhetoric, and it can occur in addition to or in spite of the factual substance of what is being said. Rhetoric is not necessarily a bad thing, though it can certainly be used to twist the truth and create negative consequences -- it is simply a tool that can be applied to language to...
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