Sunday, April 22nd, 2012...4:45 pm

24. Lanaguage as a Weapon

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“And, in a way, it didn’t matter very much that my parents could not speak English with ease. Their linguistic difficulties has no serious consequences. My mother and father made themselves understood at the county hspital clinic and at the government offices. And yet, in another way, it mattered very much – it was unsettling to hear my parents struggle with English. Hearing them, I’d grow nervous, my clutching trust in their protection and power weakened” (Rodriguez 1578)

When we discussed this in class I was really intrigued by the idea of language as a weapon. Rodriguez compares their weakness in the English language to a weakening of power and protection, implying that language is used as a weapon for protection. This also relates to the notion that “knowledge is power.” The more you know, the more you can use in order to protect yourself (which is a positive thing). In other immigrant narratives, the English language is used as a weapon to but other people down, especially those who do not speak English.  As I thought more about it, it seems that if everyone were assimilated and everyone spoke fluent English, the language could no longer be used as a weapon.

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