Gloria E. Anzaldúa

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I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite the stories others have miswritten about me, about you.

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942May 15, 2004) was a Chicana lesbian feminist scholar of Chicana cultural theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. She loosely based her best-known book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, on her life growing up on the Mexico–Texas border and incorporated her lifelong experiences of social and cultural marginalization into her work.


  • Bridges are thresholds to other realities, archetypal, primal symbols of shifting consciousness. They are passageways, conduits, and connectors that connote transitioning, crossing borders, and changing perspectives. Bridges span liminal (threshold) spaces between worlds, spaces I call nepantla, a Nahuatl word meaning tierra entre medio. Transformations occur in this in-between space, an unstable, unpredictable, precarious, always-in-transition space lacking clear boundaries. Nepantla es tierra desconocida, and living in this liminal zone means being in a constant state of displacement--an uncomfortable, even alarming feeling. Most of us dwell in nepantla so much of the time it’s become a sort of “home.” Though this state links us to other ideas, people, and worlds, we feel threatened by these new connections and the change they engender.
    • "(Un)natural Bridges, (Un)safe Spaces" from This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation (2002), p. 1

"Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers" (1981)[edit]

  • Why am I compelled to write? Because the writing saves me from this complacency I fear. Because I have no choice. Because I must keep the spirit of my revolt and myself alive. Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and hunger. I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite the stories others have miswritten about me, about you.
    • in The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader (2009), p. 30
  • Many have a way with words. They label themselves seers but they will not see. Many have the gift of tongue but nothing to say. Do not listen to them. Many who have words and tongue have no ear, they cannot listen and they will not hear.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987)[edit]

  • The soul uses everything to further its own making. … States which disrupt the smooth flow (complacency) of life are exactly what propel the soul to do its work: make soul, increase consciousness of itself. Our greatest disappointments and painful experiences—if we can make meaning out of them—can lead us toward becoming more of who we are.
    • p. 68
  • At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed so that we are on both shores at once and, at once, see through serpent and eagle eyes. Or perhaps we will decide to disengage from the dominant culture, write it off all together as a lost cause, and cross the border into a wholly new and separate territory. Or we might go another route. The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.
    • "La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness," p. 100
  • That focal point or fulcrum, that juncture where the mestiza stands, is where phenomena tend to collide. It is where the possibility of uniting all that is separate occurs. This assembly is not one where severed or separated pieces merely come together. Nor is it a balancing of opposing powers. In attempting to work out a synthesis, the self has added a third element which is greater than the sum of its severed parts. That third element is a new consciousness—a mestiza consciousness.
    • p. 102
  • They'd like to think I have melted in the pot. But I haven't. We haven't.
    • p. 108
  • A misinformed people is a subjugated people.
    • p. 108

Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality (2015)[edit]

  • Though modern therapies exhort you to act against your passions (compulsions), claiming health and integration lies in that direction, you've learned that delving more fully into your pain, anger, despair, depression will move you through them to the other side, where you can use their energy to heal.
  • The solution to your depression lies en esa cueva oscura [in this dark cave] and a deeper integration of your psyche.
    • p. 111

See also[edit]

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