The Dual Power Of Language In Amy Tan's Two Words

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Before the group discussion, I believed that in Amy Tan’s narrative essay “Mother Tongue” she brings up the power of language a lot. Tan writes “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” (P1). This is a very direct example because Tan tells the reader some of the ways language has power. Another direct example is when Tan says, “That was the language that helped shape the way I saw things, expressed things, made sense of the world” (P2). This example shows how language shapes the way we think and the power the language we use has over what we think. Additionally, this idea comes up in “The Role of Humanities" when Ricker writes this “The operation of thinking is the practice if articulating ideas…show more content…
This quote shows the opposite; that those who can articulate themselves are seen as superior. These two examples contrast each other demonstrating the dual power of language which is also shown in a short story by Isabel Allende “Two Words”. In “Two Words” Allende shows the dual power of language through examples of the positive use of language and examples of the negative use of language. In one scene she writes, “…Belisa Crepusculario was sitting in her tent in the middle of a plaza, surrounded by the uproar of market day, selling legal arguments to an old man who had been trying for sixteen years to get his pension (Allende, 3). This example demonstrates the positive power of language because though language Belisa is improving the quality of life for that man, however, Allende also demonstrates the negative power of language in “Two Words”: “Saddened by watching his chief decline like a man with a death sentence on his head” (P7). This quote shows how with two words Belisa gained power over the colonel and how the two words hurt him causing him to go
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