Review: Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”

Review: Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Amy Tan’s, “Mother Tongue,” is a sentimental short story which chronicles the relationship between mother and daughter while looking through the lens of language.  Tan, describes herself as speaking two “Englishs” that relate to Chinese immigration and second generation American born English scholarship.  The author centers the dialog on scholarship in general and her rebellion to become a writer while so many Chinese focus on STEM subjects.  In the end, Tan’s mother’s hard work and attention to financial details, advances the second generation and as if a privilege, Tan is able to take a unique path into writing.  The theme of Amy Tan’s, “Mother Tongue,” is English and culture because she focuses on immigration, second-generation issues and English scholarship.

The author’s goal may be to highlight English scholarship. However, her goals may have a cultural aim and strategy.  In the end, are more Chinese guided towards English scholarship and the documentation of unique Chinese histories?  Can Chinese absence from writing be described as a lack of historical documentation? It may become compulsory that a slice of the population treasure and document the immigrant experience and China’s history through China’s special lens. The first point illustrates and establishes the author as a scholar of English. The article commences with her sophisticated ideas around English, “the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth.” Amy Tan opens the essay, “Mother Tongue,” with a rhetorical question, “I am not a scholar of English or literature.”

Amy Tan goes on to describe the intricacies of English both within her family and within her academic life as all her “English’s”.  When describing the debut of her novel, “Joy Luck Club,” she said, “the intersection of memory and imagination.” Scholarship may be guided in this way via the door through which one walks and that may be a second generation door of immigration to America. Scholarship also presents itself as something cultivated and culturally refined where English as Second Language (ESL) English may highlight, “past perfect tenses or conditional phrases.” An immigrant may present fresh eyes on a subject or even on a language with more acute sensitivity to its variations or what she describes as thoughts about the “power of language and how it can evoke an emotion, a visual image or simple truth.” Part of Tan’s power may also be as a gifted historian and scholar, she may extract special selections that are autobiographical, memoir or cultural, which shine an intimate light on what this group’s experience may be.

The second point deals with what culture dictates in terms of language, relationships, customs, common practices, charm, and generational differences.  She recounts a story of her and her Mother in a memoir styled chronicling of their relationship, exploiting tender and comic moments.  Tan had to impersonate her mother as a child by telephone to stockbrokers.  She would say, “This is Mrs. Tan,” and her mother would say in a whisper next to her, ‘why he don’t send me check, already two weeks late. So mad he lie to me, losing me money.’ Then Tan in perfect English says, “Yes, I’m getting rather concerned.  You had agreed to send the check two weeks ago, but it hasn’t arrived.” Tan comically uses the above exchange to show off her two English’s. She details for the reader how language barriers play a role in immigrant life.  She shows how a loving daughter may come to assist her parent.  The author used the verb “wrought” in terms of vocabulary which may use language associated to irons and metals to describe older generations with difficulty assimilating.  What becomes paramount are the unique conditions that come to inform the trajectory of the author.  Cultural practice may lead to career choice when guided by shortages and necessities.

Tan may have been proving her worth to American readers, inspiring Chinese-Americans to alternative career choices and filling in gaps.  Her mother may have been financially savvy enabling her departure from the normal cultural standards.  Amy Tan’s mother was painted as financially savvy.  “She reads the Forbes report, listens to Wall Street Week, converses daily with her stockbroker, reads Shirley MacLaine’s books with ease-all kinds of things I can’t begin to understand.” Tan’s mother’s savvy was the magic elixir that produced a second generation scholar and rebel. The hard work of immigrant parents enables the future generations to choose, to differ, to experiment, to do what they really, really want to do- or start to get into new areas.  Tan’s choice to become an English scholar was culturally fresh. Many Chinese may be drawn to STEM fields or engineering in a manufacturing focused country. In the end, other sectors may have had shortages, inclusive of English. Language barriers may have also been an impediment.

Tan illustrated in “Mother Tongue,” how life threatening or moments of struggle have comic relief which she relates back to English and scholarship. The necessity for Tan’s family for her to improve on the families English may have transformed her into an English scholar. Necessity as the old saying goes can be the mother of invention.  The two ideas combined both finance and English may have joined forces to advance via her mother’s shrewd business practices and secondly out of necessity to satisfy a need her family and country of origin lacked.

Amy Tan’s, “Mother Tongue,” highlighted a need for Chinese immigrants to document and chronicle their lives.  Tan highlighted this comic and tender language barrier that may drive future generations into writing fields and English scholarship. The shrewdness of their parents in finance will open doors to fill in gaps that may later account for missing histories or the detailing of the immigrant experience. Tan leaves the reader with a feeling of general liberation, rebellion, distinction, trailblazer, and necessity.

Tan used the context of language and scholarship to illustrate the immigrant experience.  Tan’s use of comic relief shows how tragic experiences have a kind of duplicity, where in a moment two “Englishs” can be spoken.  Tan, a trailblazer, may usher in a new generation of Chinese writers.

Language and writing have a variety of doors and your background becomes the guiding force for your skills. Chinese immigrants to California may have prospered to the extent that their offspring are catapulted to stardom.

Up to Snuff #82: Fiction Ideas

Up to Snuff #82:  Fiction Ideas

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu


Describing people fully (dressing style, body, mannerisms, facial expressions, smell, personality, personality history, events that molded personality, pedigree, claim to fame, why to love or how to love)

Describing thoughts and narration

Describing places

Describing events

Describing time periods or era’s

Describing actions

Describing dialog

Having a thread that unites all the writing

Having a plot, basis or purpose for the writing

Having an audience

Having built a strong visualization and sensuality

Having developed your characters so that people have a feeling for them

Use of technology or software

Giving gifts and teaching simultaneously that values the book (cultural gifts, details)

Scenes as if it were a “screenplay” which they often become

Working from photos or imagery to create richer descriptions


Beautiful language, introducing vocabulary

Lessons, often used in High School English classes

Tell a good story

A map

A beginning, middle and end

Research histories and parallels

Suspense, thrill, exultation, surprise, build up, crescendo, unveiling, birth, crux, bridge, moving

Page-turner status, glue them in, have something your audience wants eg. fantasy, romance, gifts, bread crumb trails, teachings, romantic lifestyle, spirituality

All the way through its storytelling and descriptions

Use timelines

Settings, international agenda, historical events, history plus romance, valuation or commemoration of things or places, historical lenses (social, economic, cultural, political etc.), dramatic occurrences, blow-up of dots of mundane or ordinary or small events as something special or existential, human condition, a period or era feeling, a sign of the times

Capturing emotional feelings, tears, euphoria, anger, joy, hope, inciting, fears, gaiety, pinpointing emotions

Dialog design

Carry from one feeling to the next, keep suspended

Make a software for each book

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #41

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #41

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Being “outdoorsy” may lead you down many roads including training to be a “Michigan Certified Shoreline Professional” (MCNSP) or a Lifeguard with CPR training from the Red Cross.  If you are on the water or near water there are many things you can do to protect the shoreline, the people near it and get licenses to enter it by boat or buy a ticket and enter it by cruise ship.

You may look into state parks, local nature reserves or venues like “Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy” or “The Leslie Nature Center.”  You can look into The Nature Conservancy, The Ecology Center, Inland Seas Education Association or Master Rain Gardeners.

 You can consult magazines like “Midwest Living.”  Another exciting thing to do is join “Michigan Photo Adventures” Meet Up, which travels to destinations in groups, to take planned photos of lighthouses and spectacular nature.

You may try “vacation learning” and run off to an art residency in Mexico or to a writing residency in Italy.  Research art residencies online or on the Creative Capital website  or  in Mexico or or or or .   Research writing residencies on the “Poets and Writers” website

Life can be full of “small adventures.”  Good cookbooks can lead to good picnics; a baton twirling can lead to a parade.


Happy & Existential Birthday to Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu May 28, 2019

Happy & Existential Birthday to Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu May 28, 2019

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

This year I was planful about my journey forward which is one of my favorite pastimes.

I thought I would craft an original career as a scholar, artist, international teacher, diplomat and author.

I envisioned teaching parts of the year abroad.  I imagined myself either starting a school, running a department, or teaching a semester here and a semester maybe in Ghana or Mexico.

I adopted the new vision to be an “international teacher.”

The other thought I had was how an artist succeeds.  I think there are plucking grounds for ripe and primed artists via artist residencies.  I was at the Studio Museum in Harlem and The Saatchi Gallery showed up to see artists in residence.  In Europe, there are residencies like the Rijksakademie that also connect artists to European galleries.  Artists in art residencies have completed BFA and MFA, have a body of graduate and professional work, professional studio-they are vetted artists and ripe for the picking.  Also their associates within these programs are other artists that become colleagues and make introductions and form their creative circle.  You get mentorship at residencies that polish the artist.  Perhaps that is something someone like me should do, both go to residencies or perhaps run one in Michigan or in Ghana.

What I think galleries do or should do is keep databases of their groups or pools of artists and keep building on these artist profiles and send them briefs for appropriate shows.  So artists are revolving in different shows.

We need in America more residencies for artists where artists are connected to galleries.  There are new emerging markets for online art sales like with the Saatchi Gallery that are pursuing high and low strategies and price points with print and original sales-where everyone walks out with something.

One thing that many art departments failed to recognize is the need for art writing to bring art to life where the viewer has more information and ability to engage.  The Sotheby’s Institute has an online certificate course in art writing.

I am still having many thoughts about giving and philanthropy.  There need to be backbones in communities.  You have to know when not to be poor but to find a way to make yourself rich because you’re the backbone.  When you need to provide jobs and shouldn’t stop thinking until you have achieved appropriate wealth and vision strategy.  When you have not occasional monies, but regular monies and look to models like the Salvation Army that runs big thrift stores to power shelters etc.

I am thinking about successful systems.  I am thinking about when art provides  “ideas and inspiration” and when art is “functional” and provides a viable solution to a problem or then, is it no longer art?

An existential birthday for me has been buying spiritual books every year around my birthday.  I got: “Ceremony,” by Leslie Marmon Silko, “The Masters and The Spiritual Path, Climb the Highest Mountain Series,” By Mark Prophet, “Foundations of the Path,” Mark. L. Prophet, “The Path to Attainment,” By Mark L. Prophet.

This year I gave myself a ton of gifts which was a thrill.  They are still on the way to me.  I got myself a “birthday shirt” which is light blue with daisy embroidery.  I ordered a bicycle pump and will start cycling again this season when it arrives.  I got a picture of the ocean. I got a risograph print from artist Ryan Molloy.  I got a piano theory book.  I played “Happy Birthday” on the piano several times.  I am attempting to memorize the notes.   I ordered three pairs of shoes, 2 summer sandals and a pair of green New Balance.  I got tart pans.  I baked and baked:  Brownies a la mode, peanut butter cookies, poppy seed muffins and lemon bars.  I got serving trays and a large bowl good enough for paella.  I imagined my future dinner parties.  I got a pink sheet.  I got a house cleaning house dress that is pastel/ carnation/ frosting colors.  I got a nightgown.  The nightgown reminded me of dogs and fireplaces.

My mother sent me some money.  Another friend in Chicago sent a blender for some margaritas.

I got Bruce Lee Video’s, Willy Wonka, vintage Disney, I got Chinese Music, some musicals and foreign language tapes.  I have been loving both cassette tape and videotape.  I got some plastic containers to organize my school work station.  I got a new curling iron.  I got some “Aveda Stress-Fix” oil perfume that smells divine.  I got rose water spray.

I applied to a writing program and researched another writing program and both filled me with the joy of anticipation.  I got a “Pocket Style Manual” by Diana Hacker (writing) that covers clarity, grammar, punctuation and mechanics, MLA/APA/Chicago/CSE, usage and grammatical terms.

I got an “Intermediate Algebra” book by D. Franklin Wright/Bill D. New.  I am a big fan of the highly useful algebra.  I thought about books, informational books, culturally defining books like “Castaneda” or “Wild Irish Rose” or “Arabian Nights.”  I thought about Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry.  I thought about placement within knowledge.  I am working on a book about Interdisciplinary Studies.  I thought about learning.  I thought about auditory then recognition in early learning and throughout life and in advertising, this strange link, how one comes to know, how one comes to have.  I thought about analysis and how it makes you way smarter.  There’s tacit knowledge, but there’s graduated and developed thought.  Becoming a thinker.

I started a book log this year.  Our local Ypsilanti library is recommending that children read about 1000 books a year.  I am aiming for longer books maybe 388 books this year.

Those are some of my main thoughts on this 2019 birthday.  I am really happy to be so peaceful and serene.  I spray rose water on my hair to catch the beauty of the rose to it.

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #39

Fit, Lean & Beautiful #39

By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

If you find that your suits are not fitting well enough, you may need to define your muscles.

As do many bodybuilders, a man or a woman, but especially a man, men need muscle or bodybuilding powders to build and define their physique.  Suits may drape strangely on a man who has yet to define his muscles then pump up with weight training.  Muscular development may be a basic part of being a man.

One police officer said it is important for his position to be able to “run 2 miles fast.”  2 miles fast is a benchmark of good health and endurance.

Another important point to know with summer coming is that outdoor swimming pools absorb rays from the sun.  Tanning and slimming are therefore hallmarks of swimming pools.

It’s a nice time to get a “hard body” plan design.  Some people work out with the same personal trainer for even 30 years.  A good job is often one that you can turn into a later business and that affords good health and beauty.  What generally is good to include are liposuction, exercise weights, yoga, stretching, pool time and possibly a dog to get in enough walking.

The eyes really benefit from attention in the way of drops or eye gels.  It’s a noticeable experience to have creams and drops just for the eyes.  Try Oil of Olay Eye Gels. Other good products by Oil of Olay are “Regenerist Cream” and “Grapefruit Extract Facial Towelettes.”   You can also work on your eyebrows to better frame your eyes.

Spring is a good time to gear up with fresh and sweet designs for the warm weather.  You can purchase online madras, plaid or batik fabrics to make cool tunics for the spring and summer months with matching pull up pants.

Spring cleaning can be deeply rewarding.  Try to deep clean and clean carpets; replace mattresses, can openers, car, water filters and toothbrushes often.  Every spring cleaning try to at least replace your mattress-it will freshen your house tremendously.  It’s good to deep clean doorways and even spray clean your shoes with Windex or other cleaners so dirt is not tracked into your home.  Usually, salts and things linger in carpets and in doorways coming out of winter.   A good caddy improves cleaning as well.  You can carry around a bucket of cleaning supplies.  Be sure to dust with something like a swifter duster and clean thoroughly all the window sills where spider eggs are for later hatching.  In the spring, things do start hatching.  If you live in a brick house expect some ants.  Try to number your tasks.  Perhaps clean twenty things in a room.  Move out beds and furniture and vacuum below.  Clean out the vacuum too.  It’s good to replace all bulbs for good Feng Shui. Try to improve the light in your house.  Open the windows while you clean and let fresh air into the house.  Clean off cupboards, thoroughly dust artworks.  Get all your framing done and work on your art collection.  Get all your dry cleaning in and meditate on a clean home and spirit.  Try to professionally clean your house.  Know how to emergency clean it too.  Research cleaning, cleaning tools and agents.  Clean drapery and blinds as well.

Try to spiritualize your home and plan some “intellectual good times.”  You can spiritualize with music, core value books or spiritual readings such as “Don’t Look Before You Leap,” By Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (OSHO).  Other books by OSHO:   “112 Meditations to Discover the Mystery Within,” “Madras for Awakening Chakras,” “The Book of Secrets,” “Love Freedom and Aloneness,” “Courage,” “Finding Your Inner Power and Your Potential.”

Intellectual good times may be dates to the library by yourself to research your career.  Check out books in your field or career choice or try to learn a new skill or do research.  If you are so inclined you may write a research paper.  What can be a quick thrill is to research books in a keyword search on the computer while there and order them online after.

Theories About the Existence of Life Main Frames

Theories About the Existence of Life Main Frames

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

The Life Main Frames may be decoded once one either asks enough questions about the existence of this or that and recognizes that it must have been run by a certain kind of computer or when one realizes that they have stumbled upon something that must have  been the planet Earth’s original recipe.

There must have been a day or time period when the planetary owners sat down to birth their nations and design their planet.   Obviously what must have occurred were we need this, we need that plus all the romanticism that would go into a planetary design.  It wasn’t until recently when this author was writing on two occasions she felt she had connected back to a Life Main Frame.  I do think some of Earth’s design was gradual and piecemeal however a lot was laid out and planned from the beginning including what would be Earthlings preoccupation, knowledge, looks, homes, wealth, cultures, languages etc.

The first occasion this author felt they had connected to a Life Main Frame was when trying to decode how diseases actually lived and maintained themselves-her theory was that they were designed and maintained by a  Life Main Frame?  Someone had to be their designer and someone appeared to have to run them.  Some diseases appear to be programs running from a host?  The design of disease may not have been purely malicious, it may have been for population control.  Obviously without disease people would not easily die off and with continuous birth may over populate quite rapidly.  Probably even some of the healthier nations, with healthy cultures and diets coupled with frequent birth may have faced other problems like over population (Mexico).  Even the design of homosexuality may have been to curb over population.  Cultures driven towards family faced incredible problems quickly with over population and running out of land.  Later designs may have included the phenomenon of over population in mind.  However later designers may have had better ideas like increasing planets or cluster models or finding unique ways for handling growing families with growing needs like more houses, more food etc.  Perhaps early Life Main Frames felt that life needs death or life cycle, at least for some?  Manufacturers or food suppliers may have been excluded from life cycle?  Human genetic designs also seem geared towards the cycling of life.  One man’s theory was that Earths plan didn’t work perfectly and the originators may have wanted to start over?

On a recent occasion this author was writing about existentialism and via a “Crackiola” session looking at roots of words and came to believe “art” was really a derivative of “are” with a T and consequently relating to existentialism.  I think the design of art relates back to Earth’s origin and perhaps a Life Main Frame’s design for existentialism.  Art appears to relate to what may have been designed on a Life Main Frame as Earthlings desired preoccupation with the dilemma of his own existence.  It may have been one of the more romantic ideas for Earthlings to experience existentialism via a variety of media like paint, drawing, fiber or photography.

Recently, I found out about Life Main Frames that run city tempo via traffic light coordination.  Other Life Main Frames may run city grids and control panels in general. Life Main Frames may also house archival systems.

It occurred to me that Life main frames may be running births, beauty, hair growth and a variety of details that maintain and originate mankind.  One thing I heard is that Life Main Frames run peoples animators or the life force in humans and animals that keeps them alive?

I also heard about a Life Main Frame titled “Life M” at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan that studies human social life over time looking at families in longitudinal studies.

I also heard via taxation systems that Life Main Frames were able to monitor and keep track of all mankind’s income.

If you were to originate a planet today and utilize technology in the birth of the planet what kinds of things might you place on a Life Main Frame? Everything? Some things? Apparently some early scientists and their computers desired to be “all knowing,” especially those in early learning desiring to be “learned” that horded and falsified later knowledge to “throw them off the track.”

One other theory is that humans and animals are designed and birthed on a computer that they remain on for life?  Are the souls of man living on computers?

Another theory is that the trees exist on Life Main Frames, as well as the sun and moon, the weather  and the oceans with their marine life.   Still further the planet itself must exist on a Life Main Frame.




Up to Snuff #48 A Life with Writing or Key Writing Areas or Genres

Up to Snuff #48 A Life with Writing or Key Writing Areas or Genres

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu


Non Fiction

Novel Writer


Crime Fiction


Mystery Writer

Creative Non Fiction

Creative Writing

How to

Memoir or Family or Personal History Writer


Short Story




Grant Writing

Business Plans

Copy Writer

Ghost Writer



Magazine Writer

Niche or Specialty Writer

Research Writer

Social Scientist Research Writer

Science Writing

Divine Writing

International Affairs

Technical Writing

Business Writing

Professional Writing

Non Profit Writing

Song Writing

Government and Leadership Writing

Speech Writer


Financial Writing

APA Formatted writing and Research Proposals

Variety of Template Styles Writer

Art Writing

Communications Writing

Press Releases

Public Relations Writing

Promotional Writing

Field Studies


Film Screen Plays


Theatrical Writings

Prosperous Zero’s or Performance Art based writing, Living Arts Writer

Medical Writing

Medical Profiles:  Psycho Social and Psychological Writing

Architectural or Realty Profiles

Culinary Writers or Food Writers

Sports Writers

Arts and Entertainment Writers



News Writers

Features Writers

Sunday Quin Writers

Obituary Writers

Classified Writers

Job Postings, Titles and Human Resource Writing

Weather Forecasters

Technology Writers

Text Book Writers

Elementary Education Writer

High School Writer

ESL Writer

Language Writers

Historical Writer

Radio Show Writer

Script or Lines Writer/Producer

Packaging and Label Writer

Program Writer

Web Writer

Software Engineer

Bills, Treaties, Public Policy and Manuals Writer

Love Letter Writer

Romance Writer

Self Help Writer

Professional Journal Writer

Article Writer

Business Proposal Writer

Teaching Materials Writer

Brochure and Catalog Writer

Music Writer or Composer

Academic Writer

Writing Student

Professional Book Editor, Indexer, or Cover Designer

Cultural Writer

Genre Subculture

Digital Publishing


Analytical Research

Resume Writing

Computer Aided Publishing

Multimedia Writing

Popular Culture

Idea Development

Philosophical Writing


Story Teller

Fable Writer


Fairy Tales


Personal Essayist

Fact Based Writing or Justified True Belief




Science Fiction



Persuasive Writing


Food Critic

Art Critic

Descriptive Writer

Historical Fiction



Problem Solving

Critical Thinking


Expository Writing




Comic Book

Health and Human Sciences




Literary Journalism

Digital Longform

Book Seminar

Arts and Culture

Social Networking

Theater Critics Association

Historical Society

Foreign Policy

Data Journalism


International Journalism

Documentary Journalism

Investigative Journalism

Multimedia Journalism

Business Journalism

Audio Journalism

Arts Journalism

Photo Journalsim

Science Journalism