Blog Post 9: Saddling Wild Tongues

Gloria Anzaldúa poses an interesting question in her essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” she states, “How do you tame a wild tongue…How do you make it lie down?” In other words, how are people’s voices and their identities being suppressed and made silenced? Throughout the essay, Anzaldúa states that people’s voices are a part of their identity. Language and the style of speaking are interconnected in one’s identity. It is a means of expression and self-identification. However, through oppression and by force, people’s voices can be taken away from them. Their means of identification and individuality can be silenced by an oppressor. At times, this can last for generations until the people it affects lose their identification. Anzaldúa makes this evident in her essay by discussing the history of Spanish and English colonization and the effects it had on the Native American population. The colonizers forced the Native Americans to assimilate to Western ideals and culture. They stripped them of their identity and forced them into new ones. The colonizers “tamed” the Natives’ “wild tongue” by force. They taught them that their beliefs were wrong and that the language they spoke was uncivilized. To tame a “wild tongue” the oppressor targets children because they are easy to influence. For example, in the United States, American Indian boarding schools were places that “tamed” the “wild tongue” of the Native population. In these schools, they were forced to learn English and assimilate to American values and ideas. If they were caught speaking in their native tongue, they were punished. As a consequence, the Native American populations lost language, culture, and ultimately their identities. Overall, the taming of “wild tongue” is the action of silencing one’s voice and taking away their means of self-expression and identity.

-Anna Allen


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2 Responses to Blog Post 9: Saddling Wild Tongues

  1. aew2976

    I liked how you included the history of Natives and their experience with being “tamed.” It says so much about our country and how it handles situations like this. Great job!

  2. sdw2623

    I like that you talked about the Native American history and how they lost their identity and language. It relates to Gloria’s life and her loss of identity.
    -Stephanie Wilhite

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