Fredrick Douglass 'How To Tame A Wild Tongue'

1000 Words 4 Pages
Watch Your Tone “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it that matters." The tone is one of the most significant factors of communication. The tone of voice someone uses tells you everything you need to know about how they’re feeling, without even asking. However, in literature, much more attention is required to notice tone, but I will be examining Fredrick Douglass’ “Learning to Read and Write, and Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.” Although these authors overcame similar language barriers, they both have different attitudes towards their encounters.
To begin with, one author is more at peace with their outcome. Douglass was calm and satisfied with the way things turned out for him, while Anzaldua was more angry and disappointed.
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Anzaldua was born in 1942 in South Texas. The 1940s and 50s was a harsh time for Hispanics living in America. During that time, minorities were instantly denigrated since they weren’t completely Americans and they faced much racism because of it. She also had to take speech classes to get rid of her accent just so she could sound more American. She was even told, “If you want to be American, speak American or go back to Mexico where you belong.” (Anzaldua 34) That era was also a time where men were more respected than women. As a result, women were treated as second-class citizens. Back then women weren’t allowed to be a ser habladora or to have a “big mouth,” and even until this day many still believe, “Women should be seen and not heard." In contrast, Douglass was born into slavery sometime around 1818 in Maryland. Of course, slaves didn't have any rights and were consistently treated atrociously. They were beaten, raped, killed, and they endured so many more cruel and unusual punishments, but Douglass didn’t complain once. However, his views of slavery started to shift the more he read. “The reading of these documents enabled me to utter my thoughts but while they relieved me of one difficulty they brought on another even more painful of the one of which I was relieved.” (Douglass 102) Douglass soon began to think of his new skill as more of a curse rather than a blessing. His reading stirred up much anguish in his heart and he explains how if it wasn’t for the hope of being free he would’ve taken his own life. Douglass even said, “And that for her to treat me as a human being was not only wrong but dangerously so. (Douglass 100) Through all of this pain and brutal treatment, he still saw the light at the end of the tunnel, so Anzadula could have been more grateful. Nevertheless, they overcame their language barriers

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