Analysis Of Language And Identity Politics

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In “Language and Identity Politics: The Linguistic Autobiographies of Latinos in the United States,” by Lea Ramsdell, she talks about three different autobiographies by Richard Rodriguez, Ariel Dorfman and Gloria Anzaldua. She describes that how their views on their different language differs from one another. Ramsdell states that “Language is identity and identity is political” in the beginning of her paper. She asserts that the language choice for each writer was a political act for which they use for self-empowerment. After reading the works by all three, she realized that the language heritage was brought together by their family and each ethnic history. I agree with the assumption of Lea Ramsdell because throughout the autobiography of Richard Rodriguez, we can sense that kind of relation of languages. Rodriguez thinks that by leaving Spanish behind and mastering English language, he becomes a member of the world of success. But question is that whether it is necessary to abandon your first language, while learning another language? I think Rodriguez has chosen a wrong direction while assimilating into English culture. He could be a successful person under these circumstances, without losing his cultural traditions. Lea Ramsdell states that Richard Rodriguez has chosen to write in English as a means for what he expects would bring him success in America. Ramsdell studied autobiography of three authors, and Rodriguez is the one that is farthest removed from his original Spanish speaking culture. The change for Rodriguez came when nuns from school informed his parents that if he did not master English, it would disturb his education. This causes his parents to encourage speaking English at home and rarely speaking their native... ... middle of paper ... ...nclusion, “public language” becomes a key to unlock the door to opportunities for Richard Rodriguez. As Ramsdell points out, Rodriguez does not believe that English and Spanish could exist both as private and public languages, as she says, “Spanish and English exist as opposite poles”(Ramsdell). I would say that I agree with Ramsdell because language defines that who we are. The way one speaks also defines where he comes from and what is their cultural background. But the way Richard Rodriguez adopts the English language, is inconceivable in current multi-culturist society. America is a country of immigrants, people coming from all over the world. Most of the time immigrants assimilate in American culture without ruining their family values. But how easy this process will be, depends partly on the attitude of the community and on the approach of each individual.

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