Essay on Taming Anzaldua’s Contact Zone Analysis

Essay on Taming Anzaldua’s Contact Zone Analysis

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“The Contact Zone”, is defined by Mary Louis Pratt as “the space in which transculturation takes place – where two different cultures meet and inform each other, often in highly asymmetrical ways.” Pratt describes what she calls ‘contact zones’ and elaborates on the pros and cons of these cultural interactions. She sees the contact zone as a place that allows people to exchange cultural ideas and break down the dividing cultural borders. When a contact zone is started, people are able to interact on new levels gaining a new perspective because they are able to collaborate with people from foreign cultures. If you are always with people of the same culture as you, you become used to hearing everything from the same perspective. With a new perspective, you can see your culture from a different point of view and reanalyze the logic behind your cultural traditions. Every ethnic/ religious/ regional/ cultural group has its high and low points, and it is just as important to learn about the low points as it is to learn about the highs. Gloria Anzaldua’s essay, “how to tame a wild tongue”, focuses on the ideas of losing an accent or native language to conform to the dominant culture.
Anzaldua grew up in the United States but spoke mostly Spanish, however, her essay discusses how the elements of language began to define her identity and culture. She was living in an English speaking environment, but was not White. She describes the difficulty of straddling the delicate changing language of Chicano Spanish. Chicano Spanish can even differ from state to state; these variations as well as and the whole Chicano language, is considered a lesser form of Spanish, which is where Anzaldua has a problem. The language a person speaks is a part...


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...he same satirical rhythms as Guaman Poma’s New Chronicle and Good government and Justice. This does not mean that Anzaldua’s text is not an autoethnographic text but rather Pratt’s Definition of the contact zone is too constraining on what is or is not autoethnographic.
Being a culture under pressure from both sides of the contact zone, there needs to be passion and emotion or else the culture might disappear into history. Anzaldua’s text makes great use of passion and emotion while merging the ideas of multiple cultures together through the tough experiences in her life. Autoethnographic texts give perspective to outsiders on how a culture functions from the inside point of view. Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” excellently portrays her culture’s plight and creates a fiery passionate entrance for her culture in their uprising through the contact zone.



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