Taming a Wild Tongue

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Gloria Anzaldua's title "How to Tame a Wild Tongue", depending on which angle it is looked at, could be seen as a rhetoric question in the sense that the "tongue" and or whatever it stands to signify cannot be tamed. In this case it metaphorically represents her native language-Spanish or Chicano Spanish-to be precise. On the other hand, the title could be taken as a statement of ridicule to show the futility or near futility of trying to force a change of language or pattern of speech on an immigrant or colonized people. She loved speaking Spanish and never made any pretenses towards changing her speech pattern as she "remembers being sent to the corner of the classroom "for talking back" to the Anglo teacher when all I was trying to do was tell her how to pronounce my name. "If you want to be American, speak ‘American.' If you don't like it, go back to Mexico where you belong."(77).

In this essay, Gloria is showing defiance and to some extent, the futility in changing one's speech pattern or language by switching back and forth between English and Spanish. A society's or societies' language or speech pattern cannot be easily influenced or changed considering the fact that the society or societies in question are still in their territory. It is in this type of settings that the futility is more manifest. On the other hand, once a society or group of individuals are taken away from their territory they will, inadvertently, become heavily influenced if not entirely changed when it comes to their language, culture and history no matter how proud they are. A prime example would be the early African men and women uprooted from Africa and sent to different parts of the world. They ended up becoming heavily influenced by the cultures, languages and histories of the places they ended up being taken to.

To some certain extent, Gloria's "border" people where and still are heavily influenced by the two cultures in which they were...
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