Aria : Memoir

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Literature > Richard Rodriguez’s Aria

Richard Rodriguez’s Aria is a personal memoir about bilingual education. Throughout his essay he represents the power of the individual to defeat the language barrier and he tells how he overcame this particular problem as a child. He is very happy to celebrate his new name because he feels that he is part of the American society as a public individual, he is no longer afraid to express himself in public and by loosing the language of home he began to feel that his childhood started to end.

The acquisition of his new name was beneficial to Richard because it was the first step that made him realize he is indeed American and he is part of the American society. As a result of the language barrier he could not communicate with his teachers, hence he could not learn because his environment did not really foster an understanding of the English language. His words could not form complete thoughts and he stayed quiet all the time in school. Throughout this memoir Rodriguez tells us how he started to use the English language more and more. As soon as he started to speak the public language he learned that he had a public identity. When his name was pronounced “Rich-heard” instead of “Ri-card-o” he started to loose the strings that were attached to his other name. He always thought that outside the house there was public society; inside the house was private. Richard got nervous whenever he heard the sounds of the gringo what was foreign to him and reminded him that he was foreign in this big world. Whenever he returned home he heard voices talking in Spanish and he felt safe being around his family. After he started to use the English language at home, at school, with the neighbor kids and through the telephone he was no longer a socially disadvantaged child. He learned the public language of his country where he was a citizen. He wasn’t an alien in gringo society anymore. He became a public individual. “The social and...
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