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How It Feel to Be Colored Me and How to Tame a Wild Tongue Essay

Sometimes we know who and what we are, but it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what we pretend to be or bullied into silence allowing ourselves to be made a victim to oppression. In this essay I’m comparing the authors of “How it Feel to Be Colored Me by Zora Hurston, and How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldua. Gloria Anzaldua became a victim of oppression by accepting society expectations of the Chicano culture. Meanwhile, Zora Hurston accepted who she is despite who people perceived her as because of her skin color.

These two authors defends their personal identities through their cultures in separate ways. In the story How to Tame a Wild Tongue, Gloria Anzaldua feels that the way someone is cannot be controlled it can only be erased; she states “Wild tongues can’t be tamed, they can only be cut out” (Page 31). Anzaldua was against losing her accent and had an issue with putting her first language as a second. She would rebel as a child when told not to speak Spanish, so she struggled with changing and adapting to the American culture. She believed her culture the “Chicano” culture needed to differ from others with a secret language they can be able to communicate amongst each other. “Chicano Spanish need to identify ourselves as a distinct people. We needed a language which we could communicate with ourselves, a secret language” (Page 32). By creating their own slang allows them to connect their identity and communicate reality, values, and things they have in common. Yet, Zora Hurston in the story “How it feels to be Colored Me” expresses the way she was created doesn’t bother her nor makes her sadden. “I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I don’t mind at all (Page 145).” Unlike other colored people she doesn’t hate herself for the color of her skin, she’s proud to be created as the person she is without regret. Although, she’s constantly reminded of her culture background it fails to bring her integrity down, because ancestors paid the price of her free start in society, and shouldn’t stop to reflect on choices that wasn’t hers. “Someone is always at my elbow reminding me that I am the grand-daughter of slaves. It fails to register depression with me. I am off to a flying start and must I not halt to look back and weep. Slavery is the price I paid for
civilization, and the choice was not with me” (Pages 145-146). Zora Hurston doesn’t consider herself a part of her culture who uses their skin color for a bad excuse for why they’re in negative life situations. “I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who holds that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are hurt about it (Page 145).


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