Richard Rodriguez Essay

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In the essay “Achievement of Desire”, author Richard Rodriguez, describes the difficulties balancing life in the academic world and the life of a working class family. As a child Rodriguez was the exception to the stereotypical student coming from a working class family. He was always top of his class, and rather than spending his time out with friends or with his family he spent his time with books and notes. Initially this approach makes Rodriguez stand out as an exceptional student, but as time goes on he becomes an outsider both at home and in school. “Achievement of Desire” chronicles the not-so-typical education of a young boy from a working class family. Richard Hoggart, author of the book Working with the Past, states that a scholarship boy “is at the friction-point of two cultures”. The scholarship boy comes from a working class family background and when he starts school is thrust into a totally new environment. Where the chaos of a working class home is gone and the boy is surrounded by a sort of, “mental calm”. The instructors at his school “emphasize the value of reflection that opens a space between thinking and immediate action”. School is a part of the world that is completely alienated to a boy from a working class family. He enters the class barely able to speak English. It is easy to see a young boy might get caught up in all this. He has parents who are barely scraping by and know he is in a place where he can ensure his future by getting a good education. Rodriguez’s parents had very little schooling. He recalls that in third grade he was “annoyed when he was unable to get help”, on a simple mathematics assignment. His mother was: a new girl to America who had been awarded a high school diploma by teachers too busy or careless to notice that she hardly spoke English. Having lived most of their lives with little education Rodriguez’s parents encouraged him to work hard at school. They knew first-hand how hard it was to get by with little...
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