Chicana Self Expression Through Language
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In the US the concept of the melting pot has been a predominant idea for many years. When immigrants come to the US, they are expected to “fit in” and learn the language at the expense of their own. One of the first groups to suffer this censorship was the Spanish-speaking population. Mexicans, in order to assimilate, were forced to ignore a large part of their culture, their language. By forgetting the language Mexican people lost a large part of their identity so when the Chicano movement began in the late fifties and early sixties, the search for the Mexican identity was a large driving force. This search has continued since then and one of the leading Chicana authors that have continued this search is Gloria Anzaldúa. She uses a mixture of different languages reflective of her background. Two other Chicana writers that also push the boundaries of language are Cherrie Moraga and Lorna Dee Cervantes. Their poems and plays reflect language and the creation of the new Chicana identity. In my paper I will explore how Gloria Anzaldúa as well as Cherrie Moraga and Lorna Dee Cervantes are able to reinforce the importance of owning our language by analyzing their works including Borderlands by Anzaldúa, Heroes and Saints & Other Plays by Moraga and Emplumada by Lorna Dee Cervantes as well as exploring some of their interviews to understand their use of language and what effect they have had on the Chicano community.