Richard Rodriguez

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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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"It mattered that education was changing me. It never ceased to matter. My brother and sisters would giggle at our mother's mispronounced words. They'd correct her gently. My mother laughed girlishly one night, trying not to pronounce sheep as ship. From a distance I listened sullenly. From that distance, pretending not to notice on another occasion, I saw my father looking at the title pages of my library books. That was the scene on my mind when I walked home with a fourth-grade companion and heard him say that his parents read to him every night. (A strange sounding book-Winnie the Pooh.) Immediately, I wanted to know, what is it like?" My companion, however, thought I wanted to know about the plot of the book. Another day, my mother surprised me by asking for a "nice" book to read. "Something not too hard you think I might like." Carefully I chose one, Willa Cather's My ‘Antonia. But when, several weeks later, I happened to see it next to her bed unread except for the first few pages, I was furious and suddenly wanted to cry. I grabbed up the book and took it back to my room and placed it in its place, alphabetically on my shelf." (p.626-627)

As seen in this paragraph of Richard Rodriguez's autobiographical essay "Achievement of Desire", he looks back on his childhood remembering his family, friends, and himself. Although, he can only recall feeling anger and sadness at the fact that his parents were poorly educated. His feelings are first seen when he listens sullenly to his mother try and pronounce the word sheep correctly. It seems like he is angered at the not only his mother for not speaking correct English but also his siblings for not correcting her harshly. He adds beforehand that his brother and sister would giggle at her for pronouncing words wrong and that they would "correct her gently."

Also Rodriguez feels emptiness, and sadness...
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