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My Broken Language


A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a ...
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How does the title, My Broken Language, speak to the entire memoir?

Created: 01/06/22

Replies: 10

Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2913

How does the title, My Broken Language, speak to the entire memoir?

How does the title, My Broken Language, speak to the entire memoir?


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 231

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

Such an interesting title. The word "broken" has so many definitions - something in need of repair, something uneven, something divided. And I see the word "language" as applying quite broadly - not only the written and spoken language that differed so greatly in Quiara's various environments - but the language of music and art. I'm glad you asked this question because it forced me to really think about the title and, in the end, it seems just perfect.


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

The fractured ways that we communicate while trying to speak to the whole of what we’re trying to share.


Posted Jan. 09, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 154

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

My husbands family immigrated here from Italy and his mom used to say that his grandmother didn't speak good English or good Italian...I thought of this many times during the book as they switched back and forth between English and Spanish... just the brokenness and lack of fluidity of their speech, I thought it was a great title for the book.


Posted Jan. 10, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 90

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

The meaning of the title changed over the course of the book. It really took hold when Quiara was writing music and her play(s). One doesn't have to be verbose to get their story told. Sometimes it's just as effective, if not even more so, to keep things short, simple and to the point. In other words, less is more.


Posted Jan. 10, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kathleenk

Join Date: 10/31/17

Posts: 15

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

I found it fascinating that instead of focusing on culture alone, she saw her life as divided by the two languages around her. She really kept to this theme by viewing her life and memoir through this lens. I loved when the chapter titles reflected this, too.


Posted Jan. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gabi

Join Date: 02/22/21

Posts: 57

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

“My Broken Language” refers to the disparity between Quiara’s English and Spanish worlds - not only the actual language, but the cultures, the priorities, the environments, etc.


Posted Jan. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 399

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

There's a quote in the book, "If you're fluent in language, there's a place you belong." (p 127). I think Quiara was searching for who she really was and where she belonged. She experienced language through the celebrations of her culture and her family, through music, experiences, and especially through her writing. It was a fitting title.


Posted Jan. 17, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 172

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

Growing up with two languages would enrich one's life as well as pose some problems. I've become friends with a number of Turkish immigrants living in OK. We talk about the language barriers and how to overcome them. These conversations enrich all of us even though I don't speak Turkish. In My Broken Language, Quiara must learn to live in both languages.


Posted Jan. 19, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 342

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

The meaning of “broken language” changed for me a couple of times throughout the course of the book. While growing up, I think the title symbolized Quiara’s disconnect between the two cultures she was a part of. She didn’t speak enough Spanish to fully feel a part of the Perez gatherings, yet she was separated from her father’s new life because of her Purto Rican family.

The title changed for me when Quiara began studying the music and religion of Puerto Rico, and when she began using her new knowledge to express herself in her writing. I thought there was a more positive connotation associated with the words near the end of the book. Quiara discovered that she could blend the language of both cultures to speak her truth.

I also think that broken language ties in all the ways Quiara communicated with her family-dancing, shaking, slapping, lack of boundaries, English, Spanish, Spanglish, music, prayer, through books, and finally through the writing of her plays. Is anyone’s “language” really broken when there are so many different ways to make a point?


Posted Jan. 30, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 249

RE: How does the title, My Broken ...

At one fairly early point in the book, Quiara says "That gathering had been secular, this one was spiritual. And yet, a pulse is a pulse is a pulse. A drum is a drum is a drum. Yes, it was true and here lay the evidence: dance and possession were dialects of the same mother tongue. I spoke neither. English, my bst language, had no vocabulary for the possession nor the dance. And English was what I was made of. My words and my world did not align. That, perhaps, made me a lost soul. " (p. 98). I think the title refers to the reality that no one language can express every aspect of a person's being. Every language is, in that sense, broken. But in mixing languages, not only of words, but of experience (music, spirituality, nature, etc) one can become less "broken."


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