In both Mukherjee and Tans’ essays, the overall theme is women originally from a different country, living in America and dealing with discrimination, stereotyping, and countless cultural differences. Bharati originally wrote Two Ways to Belong to America for the New York Times to speak out about the movement in Congress to eliminate government benefits from resident aliens. She came to America to get an education and had worked hard and paid her taxes just like every other American, she believed it was unfair of our government to take away something she had earned.
Also in this essay, Bharati speaks about her friend Mira, whose employer went to the Immigration and Naturalization Service to petition for her labor certification. Mira had lived in America for over 30 years and had not yet applied for American citizenship, however she still felt betrayed when her legal status was questioned. In Mother Tongue, Tan felt stereotyped in many different ways. She wrote about how her mother had been taken advantage of by people that could not understand her broken English. People seemed to dismiss her as being uneducated and illiterate because of the language she used.
However, once Amy Tan spoke to the same individuals using a different type of English, which these people were more accustomed to, they actually did something to assist Tans’ mother. Unlike Bharati Mukherjee and her friend Mira, Amy Tan was born an American citizen and never had to fear the possibility of being deported and never had to deal with being questioned about her acceptance of American culture. Fortunately, Bharati quickly married a man that was born in North Dakota and was able to bypass the labor-certification requirements.
An atrocity is defined as "An act of cruelty and violence inflicted by an enemy-armed force upon civilians or prisoners." Some believe this war in Kosovo is about politics. However, upon examination of the specifics of this conflict it is apparent that this is about religion. People must then decide whom, if anyone is committing these atrocities. Should the United States be involved in the ...
However, Mira was a long-term immigrant and during the Vice President Gore’s “Citizenship U. S. A” drive in April 1995 (News Migration), she felt outraged. She had been invited to stay and work in this country and had no intention of becoming an American citizen. Mira had always planned on returning to her birthplace because that is where she felt at home. She didn’t understand why her green card was not good enough, she wanted to travel and see new places, then come back to a job that was satisfying and that she was skilled at.
While Bharati and Mira fought to become seen as equals in America, Amy fought to break out of a pre-existing stereotype. Amy felt like people had already decided her future for her and she was going to prove them wrong. She constantly had teachers steering her into the direction of math and science, even being told by a former employer that writing was her worst skill and that she should hone her talents towards account management. Instead of taking her employers advice, Tan became a nonfiction freelancer a week later.
By 1985, she had finally begun writing fiction, which had been her dream all along. Five Faces of Oppression by Iris Marion Young is a relevant piece that defines types of oppression as Exploitation, Marginalization, Powerlessness, Cultural Imperialism, and Violence. This article is explains how people are oppressed by different factors in their environment, whether it be through racial prejudice, power through financial superiority, and even using force to keep others from raising their status. In both Two Ways to Belong to America and Mother Tongue, nearly all of these examples are illustrated.
Exploitation is used by the establishment of a class system. Class systems are used to separate/ classify a person, which in turn, leads to those in power discriminating against those without it (Sahari).
In Mother Tongue, Tans’ mother was exploited at the hospital when she went to find out about her CAT scan and it had been misplaced. There was no apology and no sympathy from the staff. Tans’ mother expressed how anxious she was to find out her results, the staff simply told her that they could not do anything and that she would have to make another appointment.
Kaitlin Sump Amy Tan was born in 1952, in Oakland, California to Chinese immigrants John and Daisy Tan. Her family eventually settled in Santa Clara. When Tan was in her early teens, her father and one of her brothers died of brain tumors within months of each other. During this period Tan learned that her mother had been married before, to an abusive husband in China. After divorcing him, her ...
She said that she would not budge until the doctor called her daughter. After the doctor called Amy Tan, who spoke perfect English, they assured her that the CAT scan would be found, a conference call would be held, and an apology was made for any suffering her mother had gone through for their mistake. It was obvious that the staff was exploiting the fact that Tans’ mother did not speak perfect English and used it as an excuse to provide less than appropriate service. In Two Ways to Belong to America, I believe there was a different type of exploitation.
Mira came to America not be a citizen, but to gain skills that would help her make money and someday retire to her homeland of India. She used America for her own financial expansion and had no intentions of ever staying. She even stated, “I’ll become a U. S. citizen for now, then change back to India when I’m ready to go home… ” (Mukherjee 274) Marginalization is racial oppression, people that the system of labor cannot or will not use. In Tans’ essay, she describes how her mothers’ English had an effect on limiting her possibilities in life.
She states that her language was influenced by her family and her peers and because of that, she had to develop her own way to communicate with those around her. Tan also expresses that perhaps Asian-Americans are steered away from English and into math and science because of their home environment and the American stereotype that Asians are better at math and science. In Two Ways to Belong to America, Mira felt marginalized when her employer called the Immigration and Naturalization Service to determine her legal status in America.
She found it frustrating that someone she was employed by for so long would jump into the hysteria against legal immigrants. Bharati also described feeling marginalized when living in Canada with her husband. She was able to find work; however, she would never feel as if she were a true citizen because of a national referendum on the side effects of “nontraditional” immigration. The Canadian government turned its back against the immigrant community and drove thousands from the country. Young defines powerlessness as people being oppressed simply by not having any power.
Amy Tan's novel, The Joy Luck Club describes the lives of first and second generation Chinese families, particularly mothers and daughters. Surprisingly The Joy Luck Club and, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts are very similar. They both talk of mothers and daughters in these books and try to find themselves culturally. Among the barriers that must be overcome are those of ...
In Mukherjees’ essay, Mira was in a position of powerlessness when her employer decided to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Her employer held all of the power in this situation and held Mira’s green card over her head. Cultural imperialism is when the dominant group’s experience and culture is established as norms. When the dominant group has the power, they oppress those who do not share their culture (Sahari).
In Mother Tongue, Tans’ mother is thought to be unintelligent because of the way she speaks.
However, just because you are unable to understand an accent does not mean that they do not understand you. Tans’ mother could read and write English just fine, however her language skills were a bit different from what people considered normal. Both Two Ways to Belong to America and Mother Tongue are considered to be autoethnography pieces; because they are accounts of the authors own personal encounters that correlate with their own cultural experiences. There are several examples from each essay that connect the personal to the cultural.
Amy Tan had to communicate with her mother in a unique way, as she had grown up speaking Chinese and English was her second language. For Tan, she had lived her whole life in the United States and spoke English on a daily basis with her peers. In order to help her mother overcome the social awkwardness of speaking broken English, Amy would pretend to be her mother over the phone in order to get the information that her mother needed, she also would criticize people that had not been very nice to her mother, ask questions, or even make complaints.
Because of the language barrier, Tan had to simplify her English while around her mother, which she strongly believed affected her writing skills. In Two Ways to Belong to America, Bharati and Mira were born in India and as sisters; they looked similar in many ways, dressed alike, and even had the same values. The difference was that Bharati embraced the American culture, feeling as if this country was her new home and acclimating to becoming a part of it, while Mira never felt the same kinship that she had with India.
One important part of the piece is when Mira called Bharati on the telephone to discuss how her employer wanted to know her legal status in the United States. Mira felt discriminated against because she had been a legal alien for over 30 years, studying in America and being asked to stay in order to utilize her skills. Even though she was not a citizen of this country, being examined because of her accent, her clothes, and her appearance made Mira feel as though she were judged on things that were a part of who she was.
This paper discusses St. Augustine's relationship with his mother Monica as revealed in the Confessions, and relates that to Jane English's article. (5+ pages; 2 sources; MLA citation style)IIntroductionIn his Confessions, St. Augustine tells us of the devotion between himself and his mother, Monica. In her article “What Adult Children Owe to their Parents,” Jane English takes a different tack ...
Bharati felt the same in a similar experience when her and her husband moved to Canada and she was refused citizenship. She said that she would never feel like a part of Canada because they never truly accepted her because she was not born in their country. Two Ways to Belong to America and Mother Tongue have similar themes of overcoming challenges that stem from cohabitating with people from a different culture than their own. Some people are stereotyped for the color of their skin, the clothes that they wear, the way that they speak, and even the social groups that they are associated with.