Gloria Anzaldua

The busiest week of the semester has come: finals week. Three exams, one essay, and one project.

Unlike most students, I love being busy. The impending deadlines give me a rush, and I feel I am most productive when under pressure. It also helps that my assignments and tests are spread out throughout the week; yesterday was dedicated to creating a web-based portfolio on Gloria Anzaldua, a feminist, scholar, and activist for homosexuality and Chicana culture.

Throughout the semester, we learned about various rhetoricians in my Rhetoric class, but Anzaldua was my favorite by far. She has influenced so many people to stand up for themselves, no matter the shortcomings. Throughout my research, I have come to learn more about her life, and each new fact brings another ounce of admiration.

In her life, Anzaldua published various essays, books, and poems. She is most notably known for her book, Borderlands/La Frontera. In it, she describes the “borderlands” in her life, both metaphorical and physical. Growing up on the border of Texas and Mexico, Anzaldua struggled with discovering her identity. Since she grew up so close to Mexico, she learned various languages as a child. She adapted an accept, which people later tried to eliminate. She touches on metaphorical borderlands like heterosexuals vs. homosexuals, men vs. women, Latina/Latino’s vs. whites.

“We use our language differences against each other.” – Gloria Anzaldua

She encourages everyone to cross borders and embrace one another. 

In her published works, her tone has a hint of anger; anger that she had to conform, anger that no one would accept her; anger that she didn’t know who she was.

I love that she is expressing her anger through an outlet that can influence others. By releasing this anger in prose, Gloria is letting others in so that they can try to understand what she went through.

After reading her biography, her work, and her views on life, I have constructed a web-based portfolio on her life and her teachings. Though it’s still a work in progress, I am proud of the outcome. My favorite piece of work by her is her essay, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.”

In this essay, she talks about her tongue getting cut out metaphorically as she was forced to learn other languages. She was punished for speaking Spanish in America, and was forced to take speech classes in an attempt to eliminate her accent. Throughout this piece, she switches between English and Spanish.

This causes frustration on the reader’s end if he or she does not speak both languages and cannot understand what she is saying. I understand very little Spanish, and this piece confused me. Then, I realized that this was intentional. She wanted us to know how it felt to not understand, to be confused, to be alone. 

What do you think? Did you enjoy reading her essay, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”?

I hope you enjoy learning about her as much as I have.


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