Hunger of Memory: Religion

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Hunger of Memory: Religion
Rodriguez is very open about Catholicism and the identities and views that he has had in his life both as a child and now as an adult. He begins by explaining how as a child, the Church had a profound impact on his everyday life. The Church had “an extraordinarily physical presence” in Rodriguez’s early life as he had a church and a catholic school both within one block in either direction of his home (Rodriguez pg 85). As a young boy, Rodriguez’s first taste of church was through a small wooden church across town where mass was done all in Spanish. At this stage of his life, Rodriguez still felt alienated by “los gringos” and maintained that public and private life should be kept separated. But as Rodriguez assimilated in the classroom as a child, he also realized that the church “provided an essential link between the two worlds of my life” (Pg. 87). No longer did he see his family as “catolicos” but he “began to think of myself and my family as Catholics. The distinction blurred” (pg. 87). It is here where we see the first time that Rodriguez finally begins to assimilate into society and start to relate more and identify himself in a more American way.

As the years progressed, Rodriguez became more involved with the church as an altar boy and his academic life and church life were blended. This changed once Rodriguez went to high school, as he admits that he went to church less often. His view of the church also changed as he once saw it as very spiritual, but now saw that “religious instruction became rigorously intellectual” (Pg 110). His identity as a Catholic who was similar to his parents (his view as a child) now changed as he came to the realization that “my parents assumed a Catholicism very different from mine. My parents seemed to me piously simple…unwilling to entertain intellectual challenges” (pg 110). Rodriguez’s views morphed into a very intellectual and studious view, once again altering his identity...
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