The Official Blog for ENGL 41416.

Speaking in Tongues

Jackie Torres

The essay Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to 3rd World Women Writers by Gloria Anzaldua relays a strong message. Her tone is rugid, fearless, and angry. She begins by defining what she feels is a “third world women writer”. Anzaldua goes on ranking women from the highest societal acceptance to the lowest, which she says are lesbian colored women.  Anzaldua is proud of where she comes from. She does not want to lose her cultural identity or language because she is afraid that society might find this to be a weakness revealed, as opposed to strength.

Anzaldua wants to promote women to liberate themselves to feel free and express themselves without fearing the thoughts of others. She asks, “Why do they fight us? Because they think we are dangerous beasts?”  Here she proposes a question.  Anzaldua becomes blunt about the real issue of a third world women writer. She feels society sees third world women writers as beasts that will be unleashed and reveal a truly intelligent and intellectual side that can intimidate men and society in general.

Although Anzaldua expresses herself with anger and with a courageous voice she does make some clarifications. She lets the reader know her intention with this essay which she begins by admitting it was essentially going to be a poem. Anzadula declares that she does not use society or the white man as an excuse. She is aware of her responsibilities and knows that there are certain jobs that the third world women may always be part of, for example, domestic work and hard labor. However, she encourages women to write. She does not write for fame or money. Writing is in some sense therapeutic. She feels this is a way of becoming liberated and letting other women know to do the same. She says, “No topic is too trivial”.  Anzadula feels that every topic is acceptable because there is someone who will always relate to the message some way or another. She admires Nellie Wong and uses some of her excerpts to create examples of what she is trying to dictate.

Anzaldua is strong and has a very unique sense of power. Her attitude is clear and precise. It is demonstrated through her choice words. She wants women to not necessarily write their feelings out, but to feel that they can do something other than depend on on a miracle given to them from someone else.  She wants women to find “the voice that lies buried under you”. Her words in the beginning are harsh and very frank. Yet, she ends her essay with “Love, Gloria”, which gives the reader a sense of calmness after a storm or smoothness after a witnessing of a tough exterior. This demonstrates that her opinions, thoughts, and overall advice to women are given from an honest place and well thought out intentions.

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