Dylan Varnell
Comp II
January 24, 2017
Analysis of "How to Tame a Wild Tongue"
Paulo Coelho stated that "Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbor is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, and with the same questions." and if Gloria E. Anzaldua were to read this, she would agree because she wrote an article about the necessity of culture. Anzaldua is the author of, "How to Tame a Wild Tongue," in this article she argues that people should embrace their culture and language no matter how much criticism there is towards it. The examples that she uses to back up her thesis are experiences from her life and the lives of others. Anzaldua's purpose for writing this article was to inform people that they should embrace their culture and the cultures of other people. The title, of the article, foreshadows a story that the author later discusses, in the article, about a personal experience where she described when she was told not to speak her native language, hence the term wild tongue.
At the beginning of the article, Anzaldua discusses the history of the Chicano culture from the start to the present. She begins by talking about how discriminated the Chicanos were because the Chicano language is mix between standard Spanish, standard Mexican Spanish, standard English, working class English, slang English, and a few others. This is apparent in Anzaldua's article because she switches from English to Spanish qu ite often, throughout the entire article. By switching these languages, it allows the reader to see how much she has embraced her culture and helped build her credibility on this topic. Later in the article, Anzaldua tells the story about how the Chicano language came to be. She states that after 250 years of Spanish and Anglo colonization, Chicanos had developed significant differences from the proper Spanish language. Proper Spanish speakers think less of Chicanos because Spanish speakers believe that Chicanos speak Spanish poorly. She gives many examples and tells the reader that Chicanos from different parts of the country talk slightly different to each other. Anzaldua includes this in the article because this shows the uniqueness of this culture. Anzaldua does not include a very detailed history of the Chicanos making the reader a curious about who and where the Chicano culture first came from. Anzaldua incorporates the Chicano history into this article because she wants the reader to have some background information before she discusses growing up as a Chicano.
To support her thesis, Anzaldua uses past experiences, throughout the article, to give the reader a first person perspective on this subject. Anzaldua recalls a time when she was criticized and attacked because of her native language. In the article, she says "In childhood we are told that our language is wrong. Repeated attacks on our native tongue diminish our sense of self. The attacks continue throughout our lives.". By using this quote, she is using pathos because the quote makes the reader feel empathy for people who are attacked for the sole reason of being from a different culture. Also, by adding this to the article, it makes the reader lean more towards her side of the argument because the quote is so impactful. This quote also strengthens Anzaldua's claim that people should accept other people's cultures. A of couple sentences, that further impact the reader are, "Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself." and "Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate."( Anzaldua, 2951) . These two quotes from the article strengthen Anzaldua's assertion that people from all over the world should embrace their culture's language and history. These two sentences impact the reader in a way that they now want to learn more