Analysis of Hunger of Memory and Self

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While I read "The Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez", there were tons of ideas that struck me. It was very interesting because so many of the different parts could relate to my life. Also, given his story, it's so interesting to me that he is against bilingual education, having benefited from it in his own life. To me, it places the book in a different light as I read it. This book is a narrative and it is telling in how his opinions were formed because the experiences that he had. In the narrative, the themes that I thought were most important were Rodriguez's experience of separation from his family, his feelings of personal alienation and finally assimilation into American society because he had to break away from his private, Spanish-speaking childhood into the English-speaking American way of life. The circumstances that Richard Rodriguez dealt with all circled around the fact that his parents were not natives of the United States and everything that follows this. Richard Rodriguez came from a family where his parents had been born and raised in Mexico. After moving from there, they settled in America, and gave birth to him and his siblings. Being from a different culture causes a definite strain on the family trying to keep their culture while being immersed in another that's so different. This is an experience that I struggled with as well, because my parents were not born in this country and have a real distrust of it at times, so I could completely relate to the words within the narrative. In the narrative, the distrust of the culture is evident when Rodriguez refers many times to "los gringos". This is a term that while it is colloquial, it also is considered a derogatory name. Rodriguez shows that this term comes charged with "bitterness and distrust" with which his father described English speaking Americans. This was one of the instancesn where it became apparent that there was definite animosity between Rodriguez's family and the society around them. In my family, it turns into "us" and "them". "Them" is used to refer to anyone, who conflicts with the way that she thinks that things should be done and how I should be acting. In certain aspects, it pains her that I am American, even though by technical terms she is too, because Puerto Rico is a US territory, but she sees American culture as the other. This is a conflict that I grew up with and still deal with. It seems that for Rodriguez, assimilation into the American culture was not what his parents wanted for him. The conflict comes in that they came here as did my parents, for the benefits of the education and the opportunity that would represent for their children, they just did not imagine the implications of growing up in a culture so different that the one that they were trying to instill and all the complications that arise. This is something that I face day to day as I try to navigate my life without offending in a way my mother's ideals and sensibilities even though I do not agree with them because they are not mainstream culture and are different from things that I have come to learn and believe and that is a real challenge. Rodriguez focuses throughout the narrative on how language has marked the difference between his public life and his private life. When he was a young child, he spoke primarily Spanish. Spanish was the comfortable language of his home life, while English was the language he heard spoken by strangers outside the home. The same was true in my family and is still true today. Reading this book made me think a lot about this. When we were younger, my mother wanted us to learn English so to me, this did not explain the frustrations that she encountered when she spoke to my brother and I in Spanish, and we responded in English. I do not know how many times I've had to serve as a translator for people in my family. Now, as I think about it, the frustration that I have with it is that there are...
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