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Reading Notes

ENGL 131

Table of Contents
  1. Reading Notes
    1. “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan
    2. “Why Appollo 11 Looked so different to black America” by David Smith

“Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan

  • Tan claims she is not a scholar of English or literature, but rather that she is a writer.
  • Writers, by definition, love language.
  • Language is the tool of trade in writing.
  • Multiplicitly of Englishes
  • Speech filled with grammar, burden, nominalized forms, conditional phrases - standardization
  • Consciousness of which Englishes we use when we talk to different people.
  • A language of intimacy
  • An ‘alternate’ language: vivid, direct, observation and imagery.
  • ‘Broken’/’fractured’ English - what does it imply? Is being broken indicative of necessary repair?
  • Belief in the correlation between one’s English reflects the quality of what they have to say.
  • Sociologists and linguists may suggest that a person’s developing language skills are more influneced by peers.
  • Language spoken in the family plays a large role in shaping the language of the child.
  • Language tests, ‘fill in the blank questions’, and intrinsically built semantic assumptions.
  • Writing using wittily crafted sentences - sentences to prove mastery over the English language.

“That was my mental quandary in its nascent state.”

  • Envision a reader for the stores you write.
  • Intent, passion, rhythms, imagery.

“Why Appollo 11 Looked so different to black America” by David Smith

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  • Ralph Abernathy - successor to Martin Luther King as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SLCL).
  • Appollo 11 was considered to be humankind’s greatest technological achievement - yet, most Americans opposed the mission and many in the black press questioned the expedition amidst rampant poverty.
  • An inhuman priority - Abernathy urged funds be used to feed the hungry, tend the sick, houe the homeless.
  • Billions for the moon and pennies for the poor.
  • PR for the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • The Apollo programme gave an impression of being a project of white America.
  • Later, NASA began appropriating technology to improve the state of America’s inner cities.