Mother Tongue and when I was pr-Ana

“ I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts. Apart from what any critic had to say about my writing, I knew I had succeeded where it counted when my mother finished reading my book and gave me her verdict: “So easy to read.”

This part of the reading was very significant because she states that in the end all that mattered was being able to write in a way that could be understood by everyone but most of all her mother. This just goes to show how much of an impact growing up with her mom who spoke “broken English” had on her. Reading about the writers experience made me see how difficult it was for her to speak in a way where she could be understood without worrying about what “English” was being used. She talks about the time she gave a talk to a large group with her mom in the room and how good she felt about it until she seen her mom and realized the English she was speaking at that moment wasn’t the same she would speak to her mom at home. She felt wrong to talk about something knowing her mom wasn’t able to fully understand the phrases she was using. The way she brings up examples like the one I just gave, show me how important it is for her to be able to speak an “English” everyone could understand without any difficulty.

3 vocabulary words

Evoke(verb)- bring or recall to the conscious mind. “the way it can evoke and emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth.”

Keenly(adverb)-in an eager or enthusiastic manner. “Recently, I was made keenly aware of the different Englishes I do use.”

Wrought(verb)-archaic past and past participle of work. “A speech filled with carefully wrought grammatical phrases, burdened, it suddenly seemed to me…”


“During the January assembly, Mr. Grant announced the names of the kids who had received high marks in each class. My name was called out three times. I became a different person to the other eighth graders. I was still in 8–23, but they knew, and I knew, that I didn’t belong there.”

I found it really important that the writer said this because it showed me that in the end she knew her worth. For the writer to have gone through what she did and still feel like that in the end shows me how much she pushed herself. It shows me how devoted she was to learning English. Knowing she was falling behind could’ve been where she stopped and gave up but instead she pushed forward until she got to the place that she did in which she would be called out for having high marks.

Vocabulary words

Clutched(verb)-grasp or seize tightly. “I clutched my eighth-grade report card filled with A’s and B’s, and Mami had my birth certificate”.

Unruly(adjective)-disorderly and disruptive. “They were an unruly group”

Prepositional(adjective)- formed with or functioning as a preposition. “would you please come up and mark the prepositional phrase?”

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