Richard Rodriguez's 'Family Values': Analysis

Better Essays
Bernardo Cabrera
Ken Carter
AP Language and Composition
30 January 2012
Family Values Because of the opposing cultures and ideas that collide in the mind of Richard Rodriguez, his arguments tend to break boundaries of traditional philosophical writing. As a Catholic, a homosexual, a Mexican immigrant, and an intellectual, the meaning of family values can differ significantly from one aspect of his life to the next. By gathering input from each of those sectors, Rodriguez composes an array of personal anecdotes and hypothetical examples in “Family Values,” to profess his theory that Americans’ supposed beliefs do not always align with reality. With the use of generalization and paradoxical exemplification, Rodriguez is able to portray his beliefs about family values in America. Rodriguez’s analysis of American culture falls in category with many of his other essays as he constantly compares it to others, particularly his own. A second generation immigrant, he was exposed to a simplistic family-oriented environment at home and a progressive individualistic setting at school. As his studies took him to graduate from Stanford University with a BA, from Columbia University with an MA, and later a PhD in Renaissance literature from University of California, Berkeley, Rodriguez claims to have realized that his education in America led him to some degree of detachment from his family (Rodriguez 309). The piece begins and concludes with the image of Rodriguez in his car outside his parents’ house, ready to confess his homosexuality to them. This shows the heavy bulk of personal connection that the author includes in his essay. While he goes on to stray from the references to his childhood to include separate examples and general ideology, he centers the essay around his overall life experiences to create a sense of self awareness. Rodriguez’s past is evidently a tremendous motivation for his writing as he constantly writes about topics strongly related to it. The



Cited: Ferszt, Elizabeth. "Richard Rodriguez: reluctant romantic." Early American Literature 43.2 (2008): 443+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. Rodriguez, Richard. "Family Values." Comp. Lynn Z. Bloom. The Essay Connection. 8th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. 309-17. Print.

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