The Official Blog for ENGL 41416.

In “Speaking In Tongues: A Letter to 3rd World Women Writers”, Gloria Andaldua states:

Who gave us [women of color] permission to perform the act of writing? Why does writing seem so unnatural for me? . . . The voice recurs in me: Who am I, a poor Chicanita from the sticks, to think I could write? How hard is it for us to think we can choose to become writers, much less feel and believe that we can. What have we to contribute, to give? Our own expectations condition us. Does not our class, our culture as well as the white man tell us writing is not for women such as us?” (Andaldua, 166)

Early in this essay, Andaldua announces her opposition of being labeled as a “third-world woman” whose self and voice is “silenced” by dichotomies of all kinds: that of other/white; that of male/female; that of illiteracy/literacy. “Perhaps if we become male-women or as middleclass as we can. Perhaps if we give up loving women, we will be worthy of having something to say worth saying.” (Andaldua, 167) Andaldua renounces the either/or, the favoritism, of an identity. She believes in non-binary identities that produce diverse writing angles.

            “The act of writing is the act of making soul, alchemy. It is the quest for the self, for the center of the self, which we women of color have come to think as “other” – the dark, the feminine.” (Andaldua, 169) Writing for Andaldua is indistinguishably related to the means of writing faces and souls as well as a cardinal means of conditioning the kinds of ongoing changes necessary in understanding oneself as a colored woman in a white feminist world.  In her essay she challenges women in particular those of color, to take on the responsibility of writing “organically”; which she defines as: “creating in your innards, in your gut and out of living tissue.” (Andaldua, 172) This type of organic writing is beautifully executed in this essay where; although it is a theorist (academic) text its epistolary form teaches without non white “right-handed world” traditions.

            In the first to last paragraph of the essay Andaldua says, “Throw away abstraction and the academic learning, the rules, the map, the compass. Feel your way without blinders. To touch more people, the personal realities and the social must be evoked. . .” (Andaldua, 173) Here and elsewhere Andaldua advocates a new form of rhetoric, and that is what Sapphire’s Push is for many. Sapphire’s use of broken language and untraditional conventions enables the readers to interpret the experiences in Precious’ world.

I stupid. I ain’ got no education even tho’ I not miss days of school. I talks funny. The air floats like water wif pictures around me sometime. Sometimes I can’t breathe. I’m a good girl. I don’t fucks boyz but I’m pregnant. My favher fuck me. And she know it. (Sapphire, 57)

 The use of this new rhetoric brought different ethnic communities together because the experience described evoked personal as well as social realities.



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