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Rhetorical Analysis of “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” Essay

Being proud of one’s culture and language is often times lost when immigrating to a new country. Although criticized and attacked for her culture, Gloria Anzaldua describes in “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” that she refuses to let others force her to reject her culture for the sake of belonging and informs Americans and Latinos attempting to suppress Chicano culture specifically that she will persevere through the hardship to keep her identity alive and thriving. Anzaldua calls her readers to understand that the Chicano language and heritage should be recognized and that they be identified as a distinct people; that they are more than nothing. Anzaldua begins with engaging the reader by providing a personal experience of when she was sent to the corner of the classroom for “talking back” to her teacher when her intention was just to tell the teacher how to pronounce her name (374). In her second section “Overcoming the Tradition of Silence” (374), Anzaldua adds internal incite on the culture of the Chicano and the barriers of her language, supporting her credibility and supporting ethos with another personal account.

She displays these different scenarios from her point of view, showing her audience what it feels like to live through these situations as a Chicano. Switching back and forth from English to Spanish, Anzaldua cleverly uses this form of diction to establish ethos with the reader. She puts the reader somewhat in her shoes when growing up in America, not knowing every English word she was read or heard. It makes the reader feel rather awkward or embarrassed for not knowing what the Spanish words mean. Another form of ethos is present when she states, “If you really want to hurt me, talk badly about my language” (378).

Anzaldua uses ethos again to demonstrate that what people value highly, their language, is what she values sincerely, claiming “I am my language” (378). Anzaldua establishes logos by enlightening us as to why Chicano Spanish is different from Standard Spanish, explaining that the significant differences in the Spanish Chicanos speak developed after 250 years of Spanish/Anglo colonization (376). She again uses logic in determining that even though by the end of this century Spanish speakers will embody the largest minority group in the U.S, English will be the mother tongue of Chicanos and Latinos due to the fierce influence of the degradation of the use of Spanish (378).

Works Cited
Anzaldua, Gloria. “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Text and Reader. 2nd ed. Ed. Stuart Green and April Lidinsky. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martins, 2012. 322-36. Print. Documentation Statement: I received no help on this assignment.

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