The universal “growing pains” that all children experience in one form or another are easily recognized in Richard
Rodriguez’s autobiographical excerpt from Hunger of Memory. Rodriguez’s childhood was particularly unique given the fact that while he was born and raised in the United States, he
was strongly influenced in the ethnic environment of a
Spanish family. Although the reader is introduced to only a short excerpt from the autobiography, he learns a great deal about Rodriguez’s family and his relationship to it, his conflict of speaking English versus Spanish, and the
paradox that became evident as he used English as his
primary language. Furthermore, the reader learns that
Rodriguez’s experiences have contributed to his beliefs that a bilingual education is harmful.
First of all, Richard Rodriguez came from a family
where his parents had been born and raised in Mexico. After moving and settling in America, Rodriguez’s parents gave birth to him and his siblings. Rodriguez refers many times to “los gringos” , a colloquial, derogatory name charged with “bitterness and distrust” with which his father described English speaking Americans. This evidence made it apparent to the reader that definite animosity existed
between his parents and the society around them.
Resultingly, assimilation into the American culture was not a very comfortable process for his parents. Despite this,
the authors parents created a comfortable haven for him and his siblings in their adopted country. The author shares
with the reader how close and tightly-knit his family was.
He describes in numerous instances the “special feeling of closeness” that he shared with his family. He also mentions the fact that he used to feel a “desperate, urgent, intense” feeling of wanting to be home. Spending time at home,
speaking his “personal”...
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