How to Tame a Wild Tongue

“My Perspective of a Wild Tongue” “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, by Gloria Anzaldua, is a very expressive story about a Mexican American women’s struggle to preserve her culture. Her main fight revolves around a struggle to keep a form of Spanish, called “Chicano Spanish”, a live. In the short story she says, ” for a people who cannot entirely identify with either standard (formal, Castilian) Spanish, or standard English, what recourse is left to them but to create their own language? “(page 55). She is stating that despite what the societies both Mexican and American want her to do she will not concede defeat.

The American Society would like her to speak proper English, while the Mexican Society wishes she would speak proper Castillian. With both pressures bearing down upon her and her counterparts their only solution, in their eyes is to form their own language. That language becomes known as Chicano Mexican, which is basically a mix of everything she has been taught by both societies. It is not easy for any immigrant to assimilate to a new home. Most would say that Gloria is not an immigrant because she was born is the south of Texas.

My interpretation of an immigrant is not geographical but cultural. She may have been born in the United States but she was raised in a classic Mexican culture, and was forced into a strict American society. Neither of the cultures were and still aren’t willing to change. There are many difficulties to overcome, the weather, food, sports, recognized religions, clothing, and most difficult of all language. Any immigrant who comes to America whose native tongue is not English will appear to Americans as if they are an outsider.

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Even though Gloria was technically born in America she is still an immigrant. She is an immigrant to American culture. She was born into a Mexican family in America. Gloria had to immigrate into American society. The American Society wanted her to speak proper English without a Mexican accent. Gloria loved speaking Spanish and never made any steps towards changing her predominant language until she was ” sent to the corner of the classroom ‘for talking back to the Anglo teacher when all [she] was trying to do was tell [the teacher] how to pronounce [her] name. If you want to be American, speak American. ‘ If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong. “(page. 54). At that moment her struggles had begun. Most Americans have the ignorant assumption that if you live here then you must speak English. In her story she explains her disobedience against assimilation. In turn she forms a new way of life by switching between the two cultures. In doing so Gloria creates a new culture but at the same time refrains from losing her old life style. She simply incorporates the old with the new.

A society’s language or speech pattern cannot be easily influenced considering the fact that the society in question is still in their own territory. She calls it a secret language because only Chicano’s can comprehend the dialect of what is being spoken, and with that she feels sense of pride in herself. Once a society is taken away from its territory it will, involuntarily, become heavily influenced if not completely changed when it comes to their language and culture despite how proud they are.

In this case Gloria Anzaldua does not completely abandon her old culture but instead is forced to change but in doing so she still fought to keep her past with her. All that she wanted to do was be free to use her native tongue to create what she calls a “linguistic identity”(page 58), but since she was not aloud to do so she created a whole new identity, “Chicano”. No matter where she went or how Americanized she may have been inclined to become, the Chicano language was her way of maintaining the Chicano life. Anzaldua spoke of identity, she was not ashamed of being Chicano, and in fact she was proud.

Gloria felt that her Chicano language, no matter how diverse it was from the norm, that her language was a cultural asset. The idea of assimilation within a culture was oppressive to her because she wanted to always be free to express herself. The English language is universal, but it has very strict rules. The Chicano language best represents a private communication that is not understandable or even acceptable by people who are not Chicano. Gloria’s people where and still are heavily influenced by the two cultures in which they are sandwiched between.

That led to the formation of another language through which they were able to identify and protect themselves from others. English and other dominant cultures such as Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Arabic etc. have instilled in the societies that they conquered, and that the belief in any other language whether indigenous or coined from two languages is inferior. This brings out a fear within the recessive culture that they are inadequate for speaking another language. “Often with Mexicans y Latinas we’ll speak English as a neutral language.

Even among Chicanas we tend to speak English at parties or conferences. Yet, at the same time we’re afraid the other will think we’re agringadas because we don’t speak Spanish. We oppress each other trying to out Chicano each other, vying to be the ‘real’ Chicanas, to speak like Chicanos. ” (page 58). They not only fear what they are doing is wrong but they also fear their own kind because they truly don’t know what is right to do according to society’s rules, which are enforced by elders unwilling to change their ways.

Gloria keeps reiterating herself on the fierce yet patient pride that Chicanos have become heavily influenced by the American culture, but judging from how indecisive they are, the internal struggle will never cease and neither will a full integration of being a as whole Chicano race be in sight now or in the near future. Yet the struggle of identities continues, the struggle of borders is still our reality. While discussing the rhetorical analysis of this essay I had an epiphany. The purpose of this essay is what troubled me most. Was she just writing to write or was she just a creative writer?

After one hour of discussion it hit me, the feelings that me and my class mates where encountering was it. Nearly all of us came into the discussion annoyed and impatient. We were unwilling to analyze the essay because we where enraged by the fact that it was not completely in English. All but a few who understood Spanish where irritated because to the paper was not converted to what we wanted it to be. How dare she write a paper and expect us to read in when it isn’t in perfect complete English. I then discovered that all of our anger and annoyances were her point or purpose. She wanted to make us feel how she felt.

Every day she was criticized on how she spoke and wrote. One side wanted only English while the other only wanted Spanish. When in reality she knew both therefore wanted to use both intermittently. Every time she was corrected she was annoyed and discourage. As each and every one of us read the paper we were all annoyed by the fact that it wasn’t in the language we wanted. We thought that because we are in America that everything should be in English. When in reality there is no law or rule that says that all must be English. She was writing this piece for her self and other Chicano Americans not for any one else.

She was not going to change the language for others because all her life that is what she has been doing. By us reading this piece and becoming agitated we were able to put ourselves in her shoes. The words written were not what we what we wanted but instead what she was most comfortable with. At first I wondered to my self why are we reading a book about some boring Mexican American, but now I realize it had are very important meaning and purpose, and that is to stop for a second and realize that we as English speaking Caucasian Americans are not the only people out there.

We all must be willing to compromise, because with out it we cannot succeed. One day the inner struggle will seize and true integration will take place, in a perfect world if that can ever exist, that time isn’t now but it will have to be soon. Rhetorical Analysis Occasion- My occasion is a term paper. It is for my literature teacher. The paper is due following the reading of “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”. It is due a week after the story was supposed to be read in order to show that I read the essay. Purpose- My purpose is to prove to my teacher that I actually read the novel.

Not only do I want to show that I just read it but I also want to prove that I critically thought about what I was reading. I wanted to show I looked past the words I tried to figure out what Gloria Anzaldua really meant. In doing so I realized what she, Gloria, wanted me to learn. And that was that English speaking Americans are not the only culture around. I demonstrated that I analyzed the piece of literature by breaking the essay down and then forming my own critical rhetorical analysis of the piece. Audience- My audience is my professor.

There is a slight chance that my fellow class mates might read the novel as well. This affected my writing in many ways. I used proper grammar, refrained from using slang terms, and looked for any possible punctuation errors. Genre- My genre is a college term paper. It is in essay format. The type of essay is a third person analysis of the short story for all but the last paragraph. This influenced my writing by have to actually analyze the piece of literature and put into the essay how I truly felt about the piece. Context- My context is quite imple. I am the writer. I am 18 and a college student at C. L. C. The paper is being written for an English 121 class. The only other background needed is the summary of the story by Gloria Anzaldua. The context requirements affected my piece by the fact that I put it in third person format. I also applied the context by throughout the paper giving a brief summary of what happened in the story. Revision My revision to this essay was not very extensive. Unlike my previous essay, I didn’t edit or delete much of what I had previously written.

I didn’t do so because it wasn’t that I had too much or that I was repetitive, but that I had actually left out my true perspective of the piece. Yes my perspective was there in how I interpreted the essay but that could only been seen based on inference. When I revised it this time I added a paragraph solely based on what my opinion and understanding on what the essay was about. I read through my first draft and didn’t find my errors, just omissions that is why not a lot has changed but more has been added. I went from an initial barely three pages to just shy of five pages.