The Achievement of Desire

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The Achievement of Desire
In his writing, Richard Rodriguez describes himself as a “scholarship boy”, a label he read about in Hoggart’s book, The Uses of Literacy. His description of himself and Hoggart’s description of a scholarship boy do seem to align with each other in various ways, which Rodriguez points out in his essay. He gives block quotes from Hoggart’s book and then relates those quotes to his own life to show the reader just how much the two descriptions align with each other. Rodriguez uses Hoggart’s book to describe his life, it wasn’t until he came across that book that he knew what category of student he fell under.

Rodriguez mentions his separation from his family and then gives readers a quote saying “He has to be more and more alone, if he is going to “get on.” He will have probably unconsciously, to oppose the ethos of the hearth, the intense gregariousness of the working-class family group.” (517) This fits in perfectly with Rodriguez’s life. He was embarrassed of his parents and tried to distance himself from his family as much as possible. He would read outside by himself whenever his family had guests over, he would always be found reading in his room or even in closets when everyone else was in the living room together. It may be happening unconsciously, those may not have been his intentions but he is clearly distancing himself from his family so as to try and succeed at school. He would ignore his parent’s pleas to save power and do his work in the living room so that he could have peace and quiet by himself in his room.

Another one of the quotes Rodriguez incorporates into his writing says, “The scholarship boy tends to over-stress the importance of examinations, of the piling up of knowledge and of received opinions… He becomes an expert imbiber and doler-out; his competence will vary, but will rarely be accompanied by genuine enthusiasms.” (528-529) Rodriguez relates this quote to when he talks about how he never formed his...
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