September 25, 2015
Struggles of Identity
In the essay, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, Gloria Anzaldua describes how she is
targeted for her culture and the way that she speaks. Anzaldua feels that “she is her language”.
She makes the reader feel the way she does in her life of exclusion by speaking spanish
periodically through the essay. She realizes she does not need to satisfy English speakers she will
always speak her language regardless of anyone’s feelings, because they do not care about hers.
Many people treat her as if she needs to change herself to suit them. Anzaldua would often be
spoken to during school about the way that she speaks. Through her anecdotes, diction, personal
stories and quotes, it is seen how badly others treated her. Although, she is being treated badly
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The teacher replied to her saying, “If
you want to speak American, speak ‘American’. If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where
you belong” (34) Yet, Anzaldua still did not feel ashamed or let her teacher tear her down, even
as a child. It showed her how badly people could treat another that is different or are not as how
they want them to be. She overcame these experiences.
The way that others treated Anzaldua, influenced her to appreciate her culture. She
appreciates where she comes from. She speaks on how growing up listening to conjuntos and
feeling ambivalent about their music (42). She goes onto speaking about her culture’s food and
how certain smells are tied to her identity, to her homeland. How even now and 3,000 miles
away, she can see her mother spicing the ground beef, pork, and venison with chile. This is
showing the appreciation by her reminiscing.
Lastly, the treatment made Anzaldua embrace her language. She expresses how speaking
Chicano language is very frustrating to deal with. At Pan American University, she and all
Chicano students were required to take two speech classes and the purpose was to get ride their
accents (34). This is robbing her from whom she is. She comes to realize that no language would
be ever be wrong. She feels that someone’s language is his or her identity and it represents where
they came from. She takes pride in her language. No one can take away her identity from her.
As she expresses, “I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing, I will have my voice:
Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue my woman’s voice, my poet’s voice. I
will overcome the tradition of silence.”(40), it is known that the language is who she is.
The struggles of identities that Anzaldua influenced her to become the woman that she is.
Anzaldua does not let anyone put her down. She is her own woman and very straight forward.
Even though she was targeted, she stood tall and her representation. She is not ashamed. The
appreciation for her culture grew stronger. and her love for her language cannot be taken away.
Anzaldua is the voice of Chicano people.