It is estimated that over 300 different languages are spoken in the United States. This includes not only traditional languages, but also various dialects and creoles.
The education system in the United States has long been geared towards students who speak English as their first language. This can be seen in the way that many high schools offer ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, but do not have any classes for students to learn about their own cultures or heritage.
In her essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, Gloria Anzaldúa discusses the difficulties she faced growing up as a Chicana woman in the United States. She often felt like she had to choose between her culture and her education, and wasn’t able to express herself fully in either English or Spanish.
Anzaldúa argues that the education system in the United States needs to be more inclusive of all students, regardless of their background or first language. She suggests that by teaching students about their own cultures, they will be better equipped to succeed in a society that is becoming increasingly diverse.
Taming a wild tongue, which was penned in both Spanish and English by Gloria, expressed her feelings of being a Mexican immigrant who had been brought up in the United States when she’s dealing with cultural and social differences. My rhetorical analysis will focus on her situation background, her aim and claims. She opened the essay with a metaphor to establish the overall tone.
“I will not tame my tongue. It is unruly–wild, disobedient. It springs out like a snake, or a javelin.”(Anzaldúa 563). Obviously, she was struggling with put her thoughts in an appropriate way when she using English to communicate with American people, which also the target audience of the article.
In addition, as a native speaker of Spanish, she faced pressure from society and family to abandon her first language and use English instead of it because they think it would be helpful for her to get along with others and achieve something in school and work. However, she did not want to give up speaking Spanish because it was part of her identity as a Chicana. She believed that speaking Spanish was not only a way to connect with her roots, but also a way of resistance against assimilation.
Even though she had already mentioned the reasons which lead to her tongue “unruly”, she still want to explain it in details from three aspects in the following paragraphs: family, friends and work. In the part of family, she indicated that when she was a child, her parents always spoke Spanish at home. So she grew up bilingual and had no problem communicating with them.
However, things changed when she started school. Her teachers and classmates made fun of her for speaking Spanish and told her to speak English instead. As a result, she began to feel ashamed of her native language and stopped speaking it outside of the home. In the part of friends, she said that even though she was no longer speaking Spanish in public, she still spoke it with her friends when they were together.
However, once she got a job, she had to stop speaking Spanish at work because her boss told her that it made the customers feel uncomfortable. In the part of work, Anzaldúa indicated that speaking Spanish was discouraged in her workplace and other places such as stores and restaurants. She often felt isolated and alone because she could not communicate with people in her own language.
‘Wild tongues’ in this line refers to her Mexican accent and how much she adores her nation, as well as a strong emotion. In the term ‘Cut out,’ I hear a call for freedom. With the phrase ‘shear away,’ disappear is implied, which implies if someone wants her to forget about her accent and language heritage, the only way to do it is to make her vanish. This is an incredibly high degree of self-esteem on its own.
What does it mean to have a “wild tongue”? In Gloria Anzaldúa’s essay, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, she talks about the struggles of living in the United States as a Chicana woman. She grew up speaking Spanish and English, but after moving to the US, she was forced to assimilate to the dominant culture. This meant that she had to give up her native language and culture in order to succeed in school and in life.
Anzaldúa argues that giving up one’s native language is akin to giving up part of one’s identity. She writes, “Forcing me to speak standard English is like cutting off my tongue. Asking me not to write about Chicano culture is like asking me to pluck out my eyeballs” (Anzaldúa, 17). In other words, Anzaldúa feels that she would be losing a part of herself if she were to give up her native language and culture.
The essay goes on to discuss the importance of education in the Chicano community. Anzaldúa argues that Chicanos have been historically under-educated, and that this needs to change. She writes, “If we are going to survive as a people, we must reclaim our heritage and our history” (Anzaldúa, 18). In order to do this, Anzaldúa believes that Chicanos need to be proud of their culture and language, and to fight for their right to be educated in their native tongue.
The sentence ” Wild tongues can’t be tamed; they can only be cut out,” which appears several times throughout this piece, I believe it may also be summed up in a metaphor way, this sentence depicts her attitude, her boldness in opposing what she doesn’t want. “ If you want to really hurt me, criticize my language.”
This part also makes me think a lot, actually, language is not only a mean of communication, but also shows our identity. If somebody says your language is bad, it means he or she don’t accept who you are.
“How to Tame a Wild Tongue” is an essay written by Gloria Anzaldúa in 1987. In this essay, Anzaldúa discusses the issues she faced growing up as a Chicana woman in the United States with a Mexican-American heritage. She talks about how her native language, Spanish, was seen as inferior to English and how she was made to feel ashamed of speaking Spanish. Despite the negative connotations associated with her native language, Anzaldúa is proud of her heritage and refuses to give up her wild tongue.
Anzaldúa’s essay is a powerful piece of writing that discusses the importance of language and identity. She argues that one’s native language should not be seen as inferior simply because it is not the dominant language in a society. Anzaldúa also highlights the importance of keeping one’s native language alive, even if it is not commonly spoken. By doing so, she ensures that her Chicana heritage will remain a part of her identity.
In conclusion, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” is an important essay that discusses the struggles of being a Chicana woman in the United States. Anzaldúa argues that Chicanos need to be proud of their culture and language, and to fight for their right to be educated in their native tongue. This is a powerful message that is still relevant today.