Contrast in “Days of Obligation”
Acclaimed American author Richard Rodriquez’s autobiography “Days of Obligation” conveys that his feelings for both Mexico and the United States can be expressed through contrasts. Rodriquez uses pathos, tropes, and schemes to articulate his feelings. His purpose for writing about the contrasts between Mexico and California is to help readers understand the differences that affected his life. Rodriguez’s relationship with his literate audience is personal, since he is opening about his personal life and his views on it.
In the passage, Rodriguez’s use of pathos is evident in many places. In the first paragraph alone he uses it when he states that “Mexico play the tragic part; California plays the role of America’s wild child.” From this compassion of the two places, Rodriguez’s feelings of each place can be seen. He views Mexico as a place of sadness and suffering, while California is seen as the place of freedom and adventure he so desperately wants. His views on Mexico are also relayed using pathos when he points out that “Mexico knew tragedy. My Mexican father…believed…that life will break your heart; that death finally is the vantage point from which a life must be seen.” Although he portrays Mexico as such a tragic place, Rodriguez later states that he does not see California as a much better place because “California is such a sad place, really – a state where children run away from parents, a state of pale beer, and young old women, and divorced husbands living alone in condos. “ Rodriguez persuades us to believe that California is a place that although not tragic, is still quite a sad and lonely place to live.
Rodriquez also has traces of schemes in the passage. Two schemes present include on of omission and one of repetition. Polysyndeton, which is a scheme of omission and the deliberate us of many conjunctions, can be seen in the ninth paragraph, when Rodriquez testifies that in California you can “change your...
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