In the book “How to Tame A Wild Tongue” Gloria Anzaldúa addresses the importance of language not only as a means of communication, but also as an identity and a form of cultural expression. She uses many personal experiences in this passage. I feel like she does this to put the reader in her shoes and look at these experiences from her own point of view.
The passage begins with a personal anecdote about her interaction with the dentist. The dentist makes a comment about her tongue being “strong” and “stubborn” and this gets her thinking about how to tame a wild tongue. In the following paragraphs, she reminisces about early experiences which made her more conscious about the way she communicated with other people. Later in the passage the author mentions that when she was teaching Chicano students English at a high school she used to bring in reading materials that were done by Chicanos, even after being reprimanded. I found this interesting because she was putting her job on the line so that the younger generation of Chicanos could feel the same pride and excitement she felt when she read her first Chicano novel. Something else that caught my attention was the fact that she wrote this piece in both English and Spanish. Although it wasn’t very easy for me to understand, I feel like that helped to get the point across that she is very proud of her language.
The author makes it clear that although her people were facing oppression from the Americans concerning their language, there was an internal problem with the Chicanos in the sense that they were using their own language to stigmatize each other. I can relate to this because in Nigeria, a lot of people feel uncomfortable speaking their native dialect, and some don’t even know how to. This is because many of the younger generations of Nigerians are not even taught how to speak their traditional language, so this creates disparities between those who can speak it and those who can’t; where those who cannot speak are usually seen as people with no character or cultural significance.
In conclusion, I can say that this passage made me look at language from a better perspective. It also made me more sensitive and attentive to the social issues that Chicanos and many other minorities are facing today in the United States.