Aria: a Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood

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Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood by Richard Rodriguez is an essay that shows his readers a part of life that many have never experienced. Rodriguez uses this essay to show how he fights through his childhood to understand English. Speaking clear English will help him to fit in to society. He faces society while forfeiting his happy home life, to try to become a typical English-speaking student.

As a young child, Rodriguez finds comfort and safety in his noisy home full of Spanish sounds. Spanish, is his family's' intimate language that comforts Rodriguez by surrounding him in a web built by the family love and security which is conveyed using the Spanish language. "I recognize you as someone close, like no one outside. You belong with us, in the family, Ricardo." When the nuns came to the Rodriquez's house one Saturday morning, the nuns informed the parents that it would be best if they spoke English. Torn with a new since of confusion, his home is turned upside down. His sacred family language, now banished from the home, transforms his web into isolation from his parents. "There was a new silence in the home." Rodriguez is resentful that it is quiet at the dinner table, or that he can't communicate with his parents about his day as clearly as before. He is heartbroken when he overhears his mother and father speaking Spanish together but suddenly stop when they see Rodriguez. This was lets him know that he is now an outsider, no longer included in their private language. This is one of the saddest moments of his childhood.

Rodriguez begins to become more involved in his classroom by his new grip on the English language. He shares fewer and fewer words with his mother and father. His tone now transforms into guilt. As Rodriguez's public language becomes more fluent, he forgets how to speak Spanish. "I would have been happier about my public success had I not recalled, sometimes, what it had been like earlier, when my family conveyed...
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