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How People Change in “Mother Tongue” and “A Death in Texas”


Human life is not something permanent and stable: it is continually undergoing multiple changes. People acquire new traits, characteristics, attitudes, and principles. Sometimes these changes are positive, and sometimes they can hurt. They are caused by events occurring around each person and are always associated with other people. This paper aims to describe the positive changes that have happened with the characters of two literary works.

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Mother Tongue

In this story, the author, Amy Tan, talks about her life and adaptation to unusual conditions. The changes in her life were not caused by her own desire. By the will of circumstances, she was placed in a new environment, of which she needed to become a part. In this story, the relationship of the main character with her mother, who also went through the adaptation period, is essential. Even though both characters had long been in the new language environment, the influence of the past on them was significant. In particular, they spoke to each other in their “wrong” English (Tan 36). Undoubtedly, this interfered with incorporation into the new language environment, but it was quite logical and explainable.

Nevertheless, eventually, the character managed to prove to others and herself that she is capable of change. These changes were necessary for her to live a full life, so this was an achievement of which she could be proud. Thus, overcoming difficulties, Amy was able to change some of her characteristics and views, becoming part of a new social and linguistic environment. The story is full of thoughts of a character and her assessment of the surrounding circumstances and events. However, this personal point of view does not make the story less credible since it is autobiographic and based on real events.

A Death in Texas

There are more terrible situations that push a person to change. One vivid example is the story A Death in Texas by Earle. The author describes changing the character and worldview of his acquaintance, who went to prison for murder. This man spent many years there, and he had enough time to rethink his actions and his life as a whole (Earle 27). This story is based on facts and describes the real story of a person, so it can be credible. However, the author adds some details related to feelings and emotions to immerse readers in the story better. Reading it, people understand that he repented and fully realized his mistake. Even though his fate can no longer be changed, he is an example to others. They see that he has become genuinely merciful and humble, and these are the qualities that are worth adopting.


Literature is one of the most popular and useful ways to tell people about something important. One of these phenomena is the variability of life and people that is inevitable and sometimes even necessary. Changes often have a positive impact on the views and characters of people as well. Using the two stories examined as an example, it can be argued that changes can affect people in different ways. For example, some of them allow people to function better in the outside world, while others only help a person live the life given to him or her. In any case, the importance of change in human life cannot be underestimated. Their acceptance and desire to become better are critical factors in human development. The more people change for the better, the more pleasant is the existence of them and those around them.

Works Cited

Earle, Steve. “A Death in Texas.” Tikkun, vol. 15, no. 5, 2000, pp. 25-29.

Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” Dreams and Inward Journeys: A Rhetoric and Reader for Writers, edited by Marjorie Ford and Jon Ford, 7th ed., Pearson, 2010, pp. 34-44.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, March 12). How People Change in “Mother Tongue” and “A Death in Texas”.

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