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SoophiEskandani

A.Kingsley
11/23/15
ExperimentingLanguage
Ifweweretowriteeverythingdownonpaper,howwouldweformatit?Now,asmost
peopleknow,theresalittlethingcalledafiveparagraphessay,themostcommonstyleof
writing.Thisstyleofwritingcanbeeffectivedueitsuseofanintroduction,thesis,andthree
bodyparagraphssupportingthatthesis,andsummaryconclusion.However,thefiveparagraph
essaydoesntoftenleaveroomforexperimentingwithlanguage.Withthatbeingsaid,thereare
afewpeoplewhoenjoyplayingwithlanguagebychallengingoneselftopresentthereaderwith
somethingheorsheisntusedtoseeing.Onemightwanttoexperimentwithlanguageto
influencereaderstocreatetheirownstyleofwriting,andtoshowitsokaytocreateyourown
versionofwritingperhapsapersonalexperience.Whatifweplayedwithformandthewayin
whichwewriteapiecetoexpressthecomplexityofthatpersonalexperience?GloriaAnzaldua
andTeJuColearetwowriterswhoexperimentwithformbyswitchingcodes.Anzulduaplays
withformbycodeswitchingbetweendifferentpartsofherIdentityasaChicanaandspeaking
theSpanishandEnglishlanguage.Colesformofswitchingcodesisbytransformationofimage
totext,andhowthosefunctionswiththepieceswesee.Bothwriterscodeswitchinorderto
getunderneaththerealityoftheirexperience.
InGloriaAnzaldua'sHowtoTameaWildTongue,sheexperimentstraditionalmeans
ofwritingbybreakingintoitsform,andeachofthesepiecestellsastory.Theessayis
separatedintoshortparagraphs,andeachofthesepiecesisapassagewaytoshowingusa

differentsidetoherselfandheridentity.Forexample,shewritesapieceaboutthedifferent
waysChicanasandotherSpanishspeakersusetheirsyllables.ChicanosandotherSpanish
Speakersalsoshift
l
to
y
and
z
to
s
.Weleaveouttheinitialsyllables,saying
tar
for
estar,
toyfor
estoy,hora
for
ahora
(Anzaldua).ThisisanexampleofAnzalduashowingusthatitsokayto
breakopenlanguageandfixit.ThatiftheSpanishlanguageisOKtobebrokendown
betweendifferentHispaniccultures,thanitcanbebrokeninanyform.Thisiswhereshe
switchescodesbetweendifferentpartsofheridentity.Thisdoesntonlyshowusaclear
exampleofhowlanguagecanbeexperimentedwith,butthefactthatitspersonnelmakesit
haveastrongerimpactonthereader.Anzalduaisprovidingusavarietyofpersonal
experiences,andgraduallycreatingawhole.Eachportionofheressayistellingusastoryon
herpersonalexperiencewithhavingChicanaidentity.Forexample,inthepieceChicano
Spanish,AnzalduacommunicatestheHistoryoftheformandtransformationoftheSpanish
language,whereasLinguisticTerrorism,talksaboutthefeelinglikeanoutsiderbecauseof
heraccent,andhowthatcanmakeindividualsfeelliketheyeternalizetheirshame.Thesetwo
aretellingtwodifferentstories,butatthesametimehaveathreadthatsholdingthemtogether.
InAnzalduasHowtoTameaWildTongueshetalksaboutthestruggleshefaces
havingaChicanaidentity,thenintertwiningthatwiththewayshecommunicatesherlanguage.
Sheprovidesuswithparagraphbreaks.Althoughsheseemslikethisexperiencepestersher,it
turnsouttobethecompleteopposite
andthisiswhereherformofswitchingcodescomes.She
showsusthedeepersenseofrealitythatshesexperiencespersonallyforonetoacknowledge
thatsideofitandwhatitcouldfeelliketobeinherposition.Although,themainpurposeofher
essayisahiddenmessageofpositivity,andhowsheenjoyscombiningherlanguagetoadjust
tohersurroundings.ForpeoplewhocannotentirelyidentifywitheitherstandardSpanishnor
standardEnglish,whatrecourseislefttothembuttocreatetheirownlanguage?(Anzaldua).

AnzalduawantsustoseetheuglysideoftheclashChicanosfacewiththedifferentmeansof
languagetheyresurroundedby,andatthesametimeidentifythatitsoktocombinetwo
languagesandcreateyourownwayofexpressingit.Sheexperiencedthisclashofcombining
theEnglishandSpanishlanguage.Ifwewerelookingatitmuchmoreindepth,weseethat
shesswitchingcodesinamuchmoreliteralway.Betweenparagraphbreaksintheessay,
shegivesusawrittenexampleofthedifferencesofSpanishlanguageandhowitcancomein
differentforms.TheponchoisanAnglicizedMexicanAmericanofMexicanoriginwhospeaks
SpanishwithanaccentcharacteristicofNorthAmericaandwhoreconstructsthelanguage
accordingtotheinfluenceofEnglish(Anzaldua).
TeJuColesuseofformisquiteinteresting.Heusesthingsthathecallssmallfates
whichisbreakingpiecesofsentencesandparagraphsandfocusinginitiallyonthatonepiece.
InColesYashicaheformshisessayusingthosesmallfates,alongwithpicturesinvolvedwith
thosesmallfates.Allinall,thepicturesallenduptellingastory,sooneleadstoanother.As
Anzaldua'sexperienceismuchmorepersonalcomparedtoColes,healsohasasenseof
personalization,beingthatinYashicaheswritingaboutapersonalexperienceontrip.Cole's
primaryfocusisonthedeepermeaningofothers.Withthatbeingsaid,hewantstoknowthe
depthbehindtheindividualsinhispicturesthathetookonthetrip.Forexample,there'sthisone
picturewithagirlthathasabacktattoo.Herhairwaspulledup,andIcouldseeherneck
tattooclearly.Itwasintwolines:awomansnameandadate.Iwrotebothdown(Cole).We
seeherethatafterherbrieflymentionedthewomanandhertattoo,heimmediatelyfocused
womansnamethatwasonhertattoo,insteadofgoingintodetailaboutthefemaleherself(with
thetattoo).WhenIlookedupthename,Ifoundanoldnewspaperarticle.Awomanofthat
namehaddiedinasmalltownnearPhoenix,Arizonain2007,onthatdate.Hetakesalookat
thenamethatthefemalehasonthetattoo,andquicklysearcheshertametofindher

significance.Hethinksofthingslike
whoisthisperson?Whydoesshehavehertattooed?This
showsthereaderthathiscuriosityfocusestowardsotherpeople'sexperiences,ratherfocusing
onhisownexperience.Inaway,Coleisshowinguspiecesofhisexperienceseeingthese
interestingpeopleandplaces.Hisexperienceisbeingtoldinastory,butatthesametime,the
actualstoryitselfisntonhisexperience.AfterColepresentsuswiththisimage,hethenbriefly
writesaboutwhatheslookingatinthepicture,whichwasthewomansnameonthegirl's
tattoo.Hethengoesindepthontheresearchhefoundabouther.Thisisanexampleofhow
Coleswitchescodesbymovingfromimagetotext.Heprovidesuswiththisimagesowecan
seeitphysically,tothencapturetheimageinourminds.Providingthetextthengivesusan
academicvisualofwhatthemeaningbehindthatpictureis.So,weseehowmovingfromvisual
totexthelpsthereaderto
feel
thepersonalexperienceColehadfromthepicture.

Anzalduas focus is predominantly about her personal experience, whereas TeJu Cole

wants to know a deeper meaning of other people's personal experience. With that being said,
Anzalduas experience being extremely personal, Coles experiences are much more focused
on the
object of the experience of that personal experience. Anzaldua is telling a storythrough
different parts of heridentity,whichallcomeintoone.Alloftheseidentitiesthreadtogether,and
have something to do with her personal life as being a Chicana. When we compare Cole and
Anzaldua, we see that in terms of similarity, they both use code switchingtotellastoryabout
a personal experience. Anzaldua switches codes by transforming from Spanish language to
English language, while Cole switches codes by goingfromimagetotext.Within thoseimages,
which would be the personal experiences of Cole, he looks at the deeper meaning of the
experience itself.Thisrelatestotheexampleofthegirlwiththebacktattoo.Hebrieflydescribed
the girl in the picture, but the text was focused primarily on the name provided on the girls
tattoo. All in all, while Anzaldua is giving us a more personal experience, Cole focuses less on

himself and more on theobjectthatobjectbeingwithinthepicture,inotherwords,thepersonal


experience.Theyswitchcodeswithintheirtextintheirownuniqueway.