How To Tame A Wild Tongue By Gloria Anzaldúa Analysis

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Selena Quintanilla’s father once said, “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans.” In today’s society, many have encountered the challenge of not being able to be who they really are because they fear not being accepted by others, more specifically their culture. But, what happens when an individual is part of two worlds that have just as many rules? Gloria E. Anzaldúa was a Mexican-American writer and poet who made a major contribution to the fields of cultural, feminist, and queer theory. Anzaldúa identifies as a Chicana and speaks different variations of Spanish, some of which she exhibits in her works. In her short story “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, she centers on the struggles of self-identity that…show more content…
For instance, she states, “…we don’t identify with the Anglo-American cultural values and we don’t totally identify with the Mexican cultural values. We are a synergy of two cultures with various degrees of Mexicanness or Angloness” (85). This quote exemplifies what many Mexican-American think and that is, that we aren’t a part of just one culture, but rather a mixture of both. Furthermore, there are obstacles that a Mexican-American may face, such as discrimination from one or both cultures. This is seen when Anzaldúa says, “Pocho, cultural traitor, you’re speaking the oppressor’s language by speaking English, you’re ruining the Spanish language…” (77). So, what happens when a person is constantly discriminated against for the language they speak? They create their own, which is where the explanation for Chicano Spanish comes into play. According to Anzaldúa, Chicano Spanish is “…for a people who cannot identify with either standard (formal, Castilian) Spanish nor standard English…A language which they can connect their identity to, one capable of communicating the realities and values true to themselves” (77). This is something that Mexican-Americans want nothing more than to be who they really are without having to choose a…show more content…
Anzaldúa was a Mexican American who was a well-known writer and had a major impact on the fields of queer, feminist, and cultural theory. Her most famous work is Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza which includes poems, essays, and short stories. Anzaldúa was no stranger to the use of literary theories in her writing, which is evident in her short story “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.” Here, the author uses a combination of feminist, reader-response, and psychoanalytic theory to show the struggle of being oneself when they’re Mexican-American. Through the use of feminist theory, she explains how a female is labeled as an “habladora” when she tries to voice out her opinion about something; reader-response theory provides the reader with an understanding of the struggles of self-identity, which they are able to relate to, especially Mexican-Americans; and lastly, psychoanalytic theory illuminates on her childhood experiences, which could explain why Anzaldúa believes in what she does, such as the idea that Anglo people have tried to tame her tongue—in other words, her language. The text is important because not many people know the difficulties of being Mexican-American, especially when it comes to being themselves or the inner turmoil that comes with it; being Mexican-American means following traditions and speaking perfect Spanish, while at the same time having a grasp on American traditions and
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