How to Tame A Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldua

First of all, I would like to point out that the basic idea of the novel written by Gloria Anzaldua is the author’s immigrant experience. Generally, the borders the author defines are of particular importance. Thus, she speaks about geographical and cultural differences.

Anzaldua determines the border “as a place for misfits, a place, literal and metaphorical for those who are rejected from dominant society. She considers this to be a very violent and traumatic psychic and physical space” (, 2012, p. 1). The author wanted to overcome the difficulties of language contact. Orquidea Morales (2007) is of the opinion that Anzaldua “creates her own language to capture her identity.

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Her writing is highly politicized, intensely personal and eloquently honest” (p. 17). In her book How to Tame A Wild Tongue, she points out the importance of pride. She specifies that the person is to be proud of the language he or she speaks. Thus, Anzaldua speaks about her own experience. She remembers her teacher’s words: “If you want to be American, speak American. If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong” (, p. 2947).

The thesis statement

The author discloses the notion of language identity and the “theory of borderland and mestiza identity as a fuller and richer theory of difference, self, and culture” (Lockhart, 2007, p. 1). Anzaldua discovers the importance of multiple aspects and complexities of people’s identity.

The body: Anzaldua’s fight for national identity

The most important point I want to highlight is that people didn’t recognize bilingual education, and there were a lot of reasons to reject the second language. Morales (2007) states that “Language has always been a tool used to oppress Chicanas” (p. 28). Anzaldua uses all forms of writing.

Tara Lockhart (2007) says that “her particular experience of mestiza identity, her work also shows that the act of writing itself assists individuals in coming to know and express the complexities of identity” (p. 1).

For Anzaldua Chicano Spanish is considered to be “a border tongue which developed naturally” (, p. 2948). In other words, she states that “Un lenguaje que corresponde a un modo de vivir. Chicano Spanish is not incorrect, it

is a living language” (, p. 2948). In my opinion, it is obvious that the author uses Spanish to express different emotions she feels. Anzaldua uses Spanish, Nahuatl, English to disclose the myth of a monocultural country. “By being Chicana, she accepts her entire heritage not just what is deemed acceptable by white America” (Morales, 2007, p. 13).

In other words, Anzaldua wanted to disclose the reality of American nation. The author highlights the fact that Chicanos try to find “a place in American society” (Morales, 2007, p. 19). For this reason, when using Spanish, the author wants the Americans to feel uneasiness and inconvenience. She wants them to understand and accept mestizaje.

Spanish words the author uses in her book appeal to the emotions of the readers. She can’t use regular English to express her emotions, as English is not her native language. In other words, the emotions are described so vividly, because the author feels the language, she speaks.

It is the inherent feeling that this word or sentence is right. The point that Chicanas use of the language is rather restricted can be explained by the following: “This process of linguistic colonization results in the fact that for many U.S. Latinas, English is the language of education and writing, while Spanish proficiency is limited to the private sphere and to spoken language” (Morales, 2007, p. 23).

The author hates the school system. However, in spite of horrible experience, Anzaldua didn’t give up; of course, her language was changed, but she still speaks both languages. “Anzaldua majored in the oppressor’s tongue to prove her intelligence, but at the same time she lost a part of herself” (Morales, 2007, p. 31).

The author said that it was difficult to express the thoughts and ideas as the language she spoke was disdained. The most important, the primary language was English. Anzaldua points out that it was used for repression. The girl’s identity was worthless.

Morale (2007) says that “Chicanas are ingrained with the idea that their language is unnecessary and inferior” (p. 37). Thus, the girl’s self-esteem meant nothing for those who spoke English. Another important point is related to “language colonization in feminist groups” (Morales, 2007, p. 37). So, Anzaldua fights for her right to express herself freely.

The conclusion: a soldier in the war

Anzaldua uses poetry in her book to disclose the issue of national identity. She relies on various quotations to show her own feelings, thoughts and emotions: “Identity is the essential core of who we are as individuals, the conscious experience of the self inside. Kaufman” (, p. 2953). Morale (2007) states that “She feels she is not good enough as a result of years of racism and humiliation against her, her language and her culture” (p. 38).

Anzaldua wants to get freedom; she wants to write about various positive feelings, she wants to feel that she is free; however, now “she is a soldier in this war and cannot escape it until it is over” (Morales, 2007, p. 39).

Reference List (2012). Critical Senior Project Guidelines. Retrieved February 07,2012, from

Lockhart, T. (2007). Writing the Self: Gloria Anzaldua, Textual Form, and Feminist Epistemology. Retrieved February 07, 2012, from;c=mfs;c=mfsfront;idno=ark5583.0020.002;rgn=main;view=text;xc=1;g=mfsg

Morales, O. (2007). Chicana Self Expression through Language. Retrieved February 07, 2012, from (n.d.). How to Tame A Wild Tongue. Retrieved February 07, 2012, from