Integration into a new culture dictates that one learns the new language and writing. In so many instances language has been used to persecute the secondary users. It has in so many ways been able to wipe the new societies culture clean making the new culture to hold on to glimpses of their once existing culture. The paper looks at the poem “Into such assembly” and the narrative “The stubborn twig” while trying to put focus on this theme of language and writing and its effects on culture.
Myung Mi Kim’s poem covers the position of the immigrant writers in the new nation. The poem puts more emphasis on the aspects of English writers in the United States with relations to Koreans students. The poem looks at the aspect of acquiring citizenship that the immigrant students undergo. The Korean culture has been integrated into the American life, yet the use of language has been used to integrate the existence of these two cultures (Lim 513). Language at time has been associated with humiliation, isolation, and silent mockery that have been linked to those using it as a second language. Looking at this poem, it would be noted that the language closes any chance of having attachment to the other side, which in this case would be a different culture in the following ways.
“Into such Assembly” opens with the questions show how much the English language is given importance in accruing nationality and writing skills(Lim 514). In so many ways, the notion of renouncing one's language and allegiance to any other language is out rightly alienation. The fact that most of them are Americans by registration does not mean that they stop being Korean. The fact that they cannot speak or write correct English does not make them less of patriots than those who speak English and can write essays for them. Language has been used to persecute the weak in society. Learning and writing in a second language at a later life would be very difficult yet they are put through this. In so many ways, language has been used to make them feel their language be inferior and below the standards befitting citizenship in America (Lim 517).
Language has been used to scar an already bleeding soul. They are driven to understand the pain of leaving home. The pain is so excruciating that they remember the good things they had back home. Language has stripped them off of their identity and instead given them a new identity that they do not even fit. They struggle to make amends with whatever few memories they have of the country they are forced by language to disown. It has been used as a tool to break that little flicker of hope they hold on to concerning their homes and instead forcefully dictated to have to accept the new culture. Who is mother tongue? Who is father country? (Lim 518).
The poem gives a hint of the way they are taught how to speak and write in English. He talks about giving in to the culture and language that is strange in so many ways, yet necessary in order to get nationality. The society is so brutal that they degrade them, asking them if there are trees in Korea is dehumanizing (Lim, 518). They are forced to remember home and its beauty and all that they miss of their country home. Language is a powerful tool, a tool that units and breaks, grades and degrades. In so many ways, a tool that is used in degradation of the culture not needed. The questions asked, was the learning of a new language very necessary and important? Was the new citizenship status they now claim to have accrued worth the price they paid?
“The stubborn Twig” focuses on the presence of two cultures with extensive influence of language. That coexistence and correlated of two languages in someone’s life is possible (Lim 523). The fact that one culture can have its benefits to an individual’s life as compared to his native culture is the fact that does exist in some situations. The narrative focus on the relationship that exists between an individual’s original Asian language and English.
A new generation has just emerged from the immigrants. In trying to hold on to that little of their native homes, they send their children to school to learn the strict yet disciplined ways of their home. They are trying to force this new generation to appreciate this new culture. To forget about the accrued cultures and language that exists. The narrative has put emphasis on the correlation of these two cultures with a strong feel on language (Lim 526).
Language has made this new generation view the old culture as strict backward and unwanted. The character wants to run away and disappear for some time so that when he finally is found his parents will be happy that they would not send him back to school. She has no liking for her culture that is part of her. She would prefer to go through her normal life which would be the American way of life.
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Language a new rule of life that has given a different identity to a culture that already exists. The Asian way of life to them is barely holding its roots. It is being wiped clean by the use of English and the adoption of this foreign language. They have completely loathed their ways and embraced this new culture of writing papers for Korean students.
Personality is also altered as far as the use of language is concerned. The altering of one’s personality in different scenarios is a common factor in both cases. In the school, she is a very different person, as opposed to being home. Language has forced her to find a way in which she best fits her position in the community. Asian culture requires timid, humble girls and in no way is she to show her ultra-ego that has been acquired from the society. Language had wiped clean a culture that existed before the parents acquired the new language (Lim 526). In some way they have held on to the little things they still call customarily, obedience and their language being but examples of this.
Has language been a part in the fact that this new generation does not accept or associate with this new culture? In so many ways that fact that they are found to coexist in a single environment that accepts and speaks English has been a contributing factor to write papers for Korean students. Language has replaced their culture altogether. Language has given an identity that alienates them from their native language and instead made them Americans. A culture that to them is very strict and holds on to facts that to them is not that necessary and important. Language has given a chance to redefine who they are. It has completely shut out the existence of another culture giving those glimpses as time and generations change with the new acquired culture.