The mother is the heart of the family. The one person that children can turn to when life has taken them for a ride that they were not prepared to take. Even when she doesn't agree with their decisions, she will help them up, dust off their knees, and tell them that she loves you. After she gives them a hug and a kiss on the cheek she will try to steer them in the right direction as they go back out and try to survive the game. This is a real mother. The power of the relationship between a mother and her children can make absolute effective differences. Mothers play big roles in the two short stories "Mother Tongue" written by Amy Tan and "Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock" by Sherman Alexie. Mothers inspire their children in a way that it enriches their lives with the passion for learning and their devotion for life.
Amy faces couple of challenges that drives her toward her choice of education. In the beginning of her life she was ashamed and embarrassed because of her mother. And as an attempt to get away from this side of her heritage, Amy, once she becomes a writer, writes with great English and diction, and she uses a plethora of vocabulary. However she soon realizes that she is being someone she is not. She eventually fully realizes her true relationship with her mother, and subsequently allows that newfound knowledge to affect her writing. The first challenge Amy's going through is the difficulty of being raised by a parent who speaks limited English. This can result in Amy and her mother being judged poorly by others. Being raised by her mother makes her perception of the world heavily based upon the language spoken at home. Alternately, people's perceptions of one another are based largely on the language used. So, thinking differently than people is one advantage beside thinking of what her mother is trying to say. For example, when her mother says "until that man big like become a mafia" (28), others don't completely comprehend the real meaning. However, what she really means is that the man becomes big, as in known like a mafia. She uses mafia to metaphorically describe the word "big", but her accent makes a disapproving sound. In addition, Amy has to help her mother doing her daily essential communications. She says "she used to have me call people on the phone to pretend I was she. In this guise, I was forced to ask for information or even to complain and yell at people who had been rude to her" (29). That means Amy learns a lot just because she has to do this. Amy has more knowledge about communication with people in a very early age. Amy builds that knowledge until she became able to write professionally. The second challenge is the absence of the father. Amy grew up with her mother, so that her broken language sounds complete for her. And even though, Amy is embarrassed of her mother's broken language, she has to live with it which gives her the chance of developing ways to distinguish what her mother means. Amy has all of her concerns toward her mother and she starts building up her enthusiasm for learning more about the English language.
Amy Tan uses her mother's language to satisfy her craving of education. She feels that she needs to fill that missing part, which is the language, by studying and going deep into it. The relationship between Amy and her mother is one of wonderful love and comfort, one where they can speak broken English and have it mean something special. Essentially, Amy becomes authentic and true to her roots. She is looking at her mother in an incredible way that she is ignoring the worse part of not being able to be understood by people, and she thinks more about how to develop that situation into something useful. She never looks at the dark side of the situation. She starts thinking in that and she starts answering some questions like "Why are there few Asian Americans enrolled in creative writing programs?" (30). And she estimates that "And that makes me think that there are other Asian-American students whose English spoken in the home might also be described as "broken" or "limited"." (30). This way she is developing her abilities of thinking using some available source, her mother's broken language, to improve her own concepts of choosing her schooling. Amy thinks that words are more than just words; sometimes she has to look behind them and read in between to understand the true meaning. Amy thinks that points and ideas are more important than the structure of a sentence or the words used in that sentence. And since learning is not only by studying but it needs to have some kind of a view of the world real needs, she is able to improve her ideas especially after she made comparisons between what is precise and what is opinion-based answer. When she said that standard test can't determine a person's intelligence, she is trying to say how people have different ways of thinking and different types of intelligence. Yet these standard tests can only measure a certain type of intelligence, so it is kind of unfair for everybody. And this guides Amy toward writing as she feels that it can offset her mother's broken language and the unjust of the different tests. Inspired by her mother, she begins to write so that the common man can understand her.
Furthermore, Alexie shows how good the mother is to illustrate that pattern. Good mothers are really sensitive for whatever happens to the family and they care more than any other member in the family for building a successful and harmonious family. Alexie declares that using the position of the mother when a horrible accident happened to her husband. First when the husband tells his son Victor "I remember your mother when she was the best traditional dancer in the world" (400), it gives a reasonable point inside the son's mind to look at his mother. Alexie commands "After he began to recover, my mother stopped visiting as often. She helped him through the worst, though." (400). Looking at his mother, Victor realizes that his mother usually gives him a different story than what he hears from his father. At one point, Victor's father tells him that Victor's generation does not know anything about music or romance. However, when his mother describes her husband's failed attempts at playing the guitar, she demonstrates that he is also bad at music or romance. This becomes evident when Victor discusses the separation from his father. He describes the event from three different points of view which are his father's memory, his own memory, and his mother's memory. He is confused as to which version really happened, which makes him think more of why this happened to figure out the real event. Victor starts thinking differently as he starts asking questions like "Was it because of Jimi Hendrix?" (400) and he starts making up optimistic imaginations about his father's return. Victor's mother is patient and she really cares about helping him as when he goes outside and waits for his father to come back, his mother gives him a quilt to feel warm but she doesn't force him to go inside. She wants him to dive in his dreams. Victor says "It was so quiet, a reservation kind of quiet, where you can hear somebody drinking whiskey on the rocks three miles away" (401). All that is left over is the negative effect of assimilation, which is represented by the sound of a person drinking alone in the dark. That indicates how Victors gets rid of bad aspects and thoughts about the relationship between his mother and father and how he changes it while he and his mother were waiting for his father's return. Victor's mind expands to the wide world. His mother teaches him how he can search for an answer by himself using her own techniques of working out problems using patience. He learned how he can win by losing something he likes and he breaks down the difficulty of being more physical than fanciful when he left his dreams to drive him. He learned a lesson of how he should always rejoice even if the situation does not allow him to do that. All that happen because of the simple conversation he has with his mother and the way he looks at his mother while she is helping his father.
To conclude, the two authors propose great ideas of how mothers take control of the way their children think. Mothers think that those changes can make huge differences in their children's future. A good mother should grant her own concepts and abilities and shares her knowledge and skills to help her children grow up mentally. Good children care about their mothers and listen and learn from them which build up their own concepts. And this is how people are different from one to another.