How to Tame a Wild Tongue: Summary, Analysis and Main Ideas


Gloria Anzaldua in her piece of literature How to tame a wild tongue brings up issues that have happened to her as she was living near the border between the USA and Mexico. From this chapter, we found out that women who live in that area are called Mestiza. But this text is not only about the national culture but about sexism, racism and the lack of identity in people who have happened to grow on the edges of two different cultures. The author pays great attention to the problems of Chicanos, Mexican-Americans who struggle in defining themselves considering national and cultural aspects.

This article is dedicated to the overview and analysis of this piece of literature. We will take a closer look at the thoughts the author wants to share and what is the significance of them.

 Gloria Anzaldua How to tame a wild tongue: Overview

This is more biopic than a regular social story. It starts when Gloria was going to attend her dentist. She was suffering from the mouth problems caused by the issues with her wild tongue. This situation brings a reader to her thoughts about having a tamed tongue in the specter of her Chicana to identify the main problem of which is the fact that she can be considered neither fully Mexican nor American.

Gloria knows and speaks 8 different languages and dialects and can freely change them depending on who she talks to. But at the same time, she feels like she does not have a particular identity as a human and a woman as she still notices the lack of knowledge in some languages. She suffered from being ashamed of this fact. It makes Gloria feel like she does not belong to the Latina community despite this is her origin and at the same time, she is not accepted fully in the US community as well while people expect that she should not only follow the language rules but also cannot have any ethnical accent.

Another issue lies in the dialects. Gloria Anzaldua in how to tame a wild tongue admits that there are numerous dialects that depend on where the person lives in the US. But Chicanas who speak English do not want to be detected as ones due to their accent. In some way using a Chicanas dialect for everyday communication means shame. Gloria can be easily hurt by a person as soon as he/she starts making fun of the language she speaks.

But the greatest insight has come to her after reading a book written in Chicano Spanish by John Rechy who is a Chicano author. At that moment Gloria has realized that her identity exists as well. But still, she had to struggle with people prejudices as her supervisor was against her focusing on the Chicano literature for her Ph.D. paper. She even faced some threats about being fired because of the desire to present the Chicano literature in the classroom that consisted mostly of Chicanos. Gloria started to discover her identity via music and cinema as well. She never was a fan of the ethnic music and her tastes were aimed at rock-n-roll and country music. But giving a chance to the corridors music she discovered that this music is interesting to her as well. And there are even more discoveries to come. Gloria states that even food preferences can be the source of identity for a person.

Defining her identity, Gloria used terms Spanish or Mexican-American terms depending on the person and the matter to describe. But with time Gloria realizes that Mexicana and Chicana are the proper terms that define her spirit. They mean she was not born and raised in Mexico but at the same time, she cannot call American values her own.

One of the main problems for Chicanos is that they cannot feel comfortable in any group that results in economic difficulties. However, this group of people is sure that if they will stick to their language and culture, they will overline any of the Western European institutions and remain strong and actionable.

Summary of how to tame a wild tongue

This story is short but meaningful aiming at the problem of the identity searches of people who have gained features of different cultures and speak more than one language or in some other way include features of different groups of people whether it is nationality, race or language. How to tame a wild tongue summary displays that the main issue they faced is the lack of acceptance in any group. And they can even be ashamed of not being “pure” from the surprising perspective. For instance, Gloria’s mother whose tongue is Spanish was upset that her daughter has an accent that can reveal her Mexican origin.

How to tame a wild tongue: sparknotes

Now let’s highlight the notes that the author put in the center of her story. We have already outlined them, but now we will take a look at each of them separately.

  • The first main issue is the language, of course. So, the author uses both English and Spanish words in her story without even translation some of them to the English-speaking reader. This trick demonstrates the break of the languages in real life.
  • Feminism is another sparknote according to How to tame a wild tongue analysis. Gloria is concerned that her female identity is in danger as well as in the Chicano dialect the Spanish words prevail and they often have a masculine form.
  • Also she refers to the representation question. Can the process of identity formation exist without the influence of the media and art messages? What will happen if the person will follow the guidelines presented there? How the representation affects the perception of people who do not belong to the Chicano group?

How to tame a wild tongue: main points

What was the purpose of the story? Anzaldua wanted to point out some thought referring to the identity and the acceptance of the people of the mixed ethnical groups.

  • Gloria states that she is defined by her language and she feels right to speak Chicanos dialect. But the truth is that she is not accepted by the whites as well as Hispanic people. Since the young years, she was told that her language is not right. But eventually, she realized that she cannot be ashamed of it.
  • Looking through How to tame a wild tongue citation you will see that she includes Spanish words in her text in order to show the reader that she will not give up her own way to communicate. It is her right and it cannot be affected by other people even her own readers. This approach helps to see and feel the point of her story.
  • Anzaldua highlights that identity is inseparably connected to the culture. Cultural characteristics will be determined by the political, geographical and economic conditions as well as the language.
  • It is fine and rightful to be different and you should not betray your inner identity in order to be accepted. This is due to the reality that in any case you will be treated differently as the issue is not in you but in society.

How to tame a wild tongue book

We should accept the fact the there are plenty of nations in the world and they will differ from each other anyway. The differences in language are inevitable. But the nation that includes a few cultures can be even stronger than a so-called pure one. We recommend you to acquire a How to tame a wild tongue pdf and to experience the author’s writing to get a deeper understanding of these points.

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