Mother Tongue and When I was PR — Balthazar

“Fortunately, for reasons I won’t get into today, I later decided I should envision a reader for the stories I would write. And the reader I decided upon was my mother, because these were stories about mothers.”  

I found this quote important because it shows how she adapted her writing, after realizing the difference in her language use when speaking with her mother. She was able to see this difference in her writing and address it. By making her target audience her own mother I think she was able to give her mother more power or more confidence by making it easy to read. I think it also shows the deep love and respect for her mother, as well as compassion for others who may have difficulties with the English language. 

Evoke(verb) – to bring to mind or recollection 

 “I spend a great deal of my time thinking about the power of language — the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth”  

Semantic(adjective) – of or relating to meaning in language  

“The same was true with word analogies, pairs of words in which you were supposed to find some sort of logical, semantic relationship — for example, “Sunset is to nightfall as is to.” 

Guise(noun) – a customary way of speaking or behaving  

“In this guise, I was forced to ask for information or even to complain and yell at people who had been rude to her” 

When I was Puerto Rican – Esmeralda Santiago 

“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 in 8-23, but they knew, and I knew, that I didn’t belong”  

This quote is important because it shows that even though she went into the school with little ability to speak English, she remained confident and with that confidence she took action to become a great student. It tells us a lot about her character as a person, she was first rejected and almost sent to a younger class, but she stood strong and was able to go into an eighth-grade class. Yet she also showed that she wasn’t just lucky, she was driven and ready to put in the hard work to learn English and get good grades. It shows that she has a lot of strength and passion for her education and took the opportunity she was granted. 

Unruly(adjective) – not readily ruled, disciplined, or managed  

“They were an unruly group” 

Outcasts(noun) – one that is cast out or refused acceptance (as by society)  

“ We were outcasts in a school where the smartest eighth graders were in the 8-1 homeroom, each subsequent drop in number indicating one notch less smart” 

Subsequent(adjective) – following in time, order, or place  

“ We were outcasts in a school where the smartest eighth graders were in the 8-1 homeroom, each subsequent drop in number indicating one notch less smart” 

1 thought on “Mother Tongue and When I was PR — Balthazar”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *