Review of Entering Into the Serpent and How to Tame a Wild Tongue

Topic: FamilyChildren
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Last updated: June 23, 2019

Gloria Anzaldua wrote two essays Entering into the Serpent and How to Tame a Wild Tongue.

It is difficult for me to understand because both of these two essays are in English and Spanish. I think it is the author’s purpose that let people know how difficult it is to suffer from different cultures and languages. Anzaldua mainly talks about the differences in cultures and languages to show how she fights against people’s common sense of American culture. First, she talks about many stories about Spanish cultures.

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Anzaldua was scared by a snake.There was a myth about that snake. “A snake will crawl into your nalgas, make you pregnant” (Anzaldua 29). Anzaldua thinks that it is la Vibora, snake woman. This snake woman becomes the symbol of the Serpent.

The symbol represents evil, death. After talking about the snake, Anzaldua talks about the religion. “Thus Tonantsi became Guadalupe, the chaste protective mother, the defender of the Mexican people” (Anzaldua 31). “As the Spanish and their Church continued to split Tonantsi/Guadalupe” (Anzaldua 31).

It was shown in the Aztec society and there were three gods at first. All three are mediators: Guadalupe, the virgin mother who has not abandoned us, la Chingada, the raped mother whom we have abandoned, and la Llorona, the mother who seeks her lost children and is a combination of the other two” (Anzaldua 33). Three gods become only one combination, la Llorona. However, the religion began to change to Male Dominance. The religion change led to the loss of the balanced oppositions. “Snake people had holes, entrances to the body of the Earth Serpent; they followed the Serpent’s way, identified with the Serpent deity, with the mouth, both the eater and the eaten” (Anzaldua 36).And the destiny of human beings is to be devoured by the god. Then Anzaldua spends lots of words to talk about the identity.

People identity others from their culture, their religion, their language, their gender. “I allowed white rationality to tell me that existence of the “other world” was mere pagan superstition” (Anzaldua 38). Also, she thinks that white people are so adamant in denying. “We lose something in this mode of initiation, something is taken from us: our innocence, our unknowing ways, our safe and easy ignorance” (Anzaldua 40).Besides culture stuff, Anzaldua also suffered from a lots of language problems. Language is widely used by people to identify others. “The first time I heard two women, a Puerto Rican and a Cuban, say the word “nosotras,” I was shocked” (Anzaldua 43). Anzaldua was shocked because some female people can’t use another word nosotros.

We can see that Azteca Mexican had a male-dominated culture and people judged other’s status from the language difference. Chicano Spanish is the language that Anzaldua uses for communicating with her family. Chicanas who grew up speaking Chicano Spanish have internalized the belief that we speak poor Spanish” (Anzaldua 46). People always get hurt because of bad language.

“Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity—I am my language” (Anzaldua 46).Anzaldua had drawn a relationship between her identity and the different languages she uses. Chicano Spanish was considered as poor people’s language in whites’ eyes. And finally she talks about the race. They know how to survive from the others. When other races have given up their tongue we’ve kept ours” (Anzaldua 50). We don’t need to care too much about their thoughts. Everyone has his own way to survive and lead his life.

“One day the inner struggle will cease and a true integration take place” (Anzaldua 50). In these two chapters, Anzaldua uses the different cultures and different language to show people’s identity and how they judge others. However, it is people’s freedom to identity others and judge others. What we should do is to fight against people’s feeling and survive.


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