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Eng 21a - Cultural Changes

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Jakob Bernstein

Mr. Lozada

English 21A

4/5/16

Cultural Changes

The history of the world and its cultures may not always be something we know much about, let alone think about and would be of any importance to us or could affect the way we live. But, if you were a part of history and it affected you negatively, you may be slightly inclined to keep informed, stand for your rights, and educate others on the way life once was, and what has become since. In two different articles, written by two individual citizens of different countries, both go on to explain how the struggle of being able to identify has been an issue and setback to both themselves and their ancestors since the West had become involved and Westernization took over. As you read further into the stories How to Tame a Wild Tongue and From a Native Daughter, you will come to understand exactly how and why so many lives were affected simply because of the power other civilizations hold. Whether you agree or disagree, is ultimately left up for you to decide.

Throughout much of the first reading How to Tame a Wild Tongue, Haunani-Kay Trask, a native to the islands of Hawaii, goes on to give a detailed description of life before and after Western civilization took over and how the native people of her homeland were wrongly done and not willing to give up hope that easily. Trask allows for a better understanding of how the West’s involvement negatively affected the natives of the land where she belonged. She gives examples of the peaceful lives that her ancestors lived and told many stories of how they would all work together as a family and share everything that they owned. On the other hand, she goes on to explain how after contact with the West, nearly 80 percent of her people had either died or been killed. Over time, things have gotten no better but it is certainly not near what it was in the beginning. As long is the land is there, the Native people of Hawaii will do whatever necessary to get their lives and homes back. In the end, with books being written and the current situation being brought to light, Hawaii is just one step closer to regaining their freedom.

Much like in the Trask reading, Gloria Anzaldua, a proud Mexican woman that struggled with finding her true self because of the harsh adaption to the English language and culture, mentions her feelings regarding how her hardships with being a Latino woman with mediocre English, molded her into the person who is now proud of who she is, where she came from, is willing to stand up for what was once “her people’s”. She too goes on to tell the story of how the change in culture was not only forced upon them, but how they were punished if they were not able to adapt quickly enough. Anzaldua gives examples and tells the story of when she was caught speaking Spanish at recess and was punished for it by being hit with a ruler. Another instance occurred where her teacher had told her to go back to Mexico because of her pronunciation when explaining her name. Anzaldua’s point that the forced change in culture had affected their lives

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