Spanish Language and Bilingual Childhood

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Reflection on “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood”
In “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” Richard Rodriguez describes his experience of growing up as an immigrant from Mexico. Rodriguez throughout the essay shows support against bilingual education and encourages immigrants to adapt to the English language because he believes immigrants can be more successful adapting and learning the American culture. Rodriguez recalls as a child he was forced to learn English when he started school. One day his teachers came to his home and explained that he was not doing so well in school and therefore the English language needed to be enforced in the house (453). The teachers asked for his parents to try to speak English with Rodriguez and his siblings. Rodriquez explains how speaking Spanish at home was the family language and it made him feel a intimate and close with his family and it seemed easier to bond. Rodriguez felt after the switch to English they lost the closeness and the bond within the family and started to fall apart from one another. The essay starts off with Rodriquez knowing only Spanish and English sounding like only noise to him, and later towards the end as he concludes the essay he ends with knowing English and losing his ability to speak Spanish, the language he remembered speaking with such warmth and love.

One reason why this essay fascinated me was because I was able to relate to Rodriquez since I grew up in a bilingual home. This essay is like the journal of Rodriguez’s life. Reading about him made me open my eyes to see that I was not the only person going through problems between languages. I understood as Rodriguez says, “English was intrinsically public language and Spanish was intrinsically private” (453) because I remember feeling the intimacy and warmth of my parents communicating with me in our language at home. It was almost hard for me to hear my parents speak English because I felt as if they spend more time trying to...
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