Comparing Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" and Gloria Anzuldua's "How To Tame A Wild Tongue"

Essay by poppinbeastHigh School, 11th grade April 2008

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Essay #9: Issue of Language and Identity

"Identity is the essential core of who we are as individuals, the conscious experience of the self inside" - Kaufman (Anzuldύa 62). Coming to America and speaking more than one language, I often face similar situations as Gloria Anzaldύa and Amy Tan. Going to high school where personal image is a big part of a student's life is very nerve racking. American Values are often forced upon students and a certain way of life is expected of them. Many times, in America, people look down on people who do not accept the American Way of Life. The struggle of "fitting in" and accepting the cultural background is a major point in both essays, Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldύa, which the authors argue similarly about. Both essays can be related to my life as I experience them in my life at home and at school.

High school also has an unparalleled reputation of students trying to "fit in" with their peers and peer-pressure causing people to accept values different to their own, which is similar to Anzaldύa's case. In Anzaldύa's essay, she reflects on the situation that many people face in a contact zone of many different cultures. She begins by explaining how she felt unaccepted by all groups, Americans, Mexicans, and other Spanish speakers. Many people are also forced accept certain cultures over the other. Anzaldύa "was accused by various Latinos and Latinas" of a being a "'Pocho, cultural traitor'". Anzaldύa was rejected by many Latinos and did not mix well with Americans either. Gaining respect of peers is also very hard in high school.

Living with parent that speaks "broken English" is similar in all households and presents similar hardships. In...