"The Achievement of Desire" is an autobiography about Mr. Richard Rodriguez. In this autobiography the story of the conflicts the “scholarship boy” had with his school life and home life. As he continued his education into a Graduate degree, he starts not thinking too highly of the education his parents have. He started to feel embarrassed by his parents because they didn’t have much education. Rodriguez then started to distance himself from his family and pursued his educational goals. To him his education was more important than his family. Rodriguez does not understand the phrase, “Your parents would be proud." To have accomplished as much as he did of course his parents would be proud but it is no way they see it the same as he do because his education is much more advanced. In the story he describes his siblings as being just as successful as him but without the “anxiety” that he had throughout school. During his childhood they brought trophies home for achievements which made him even more eager to be successful. His siblings still had social lives unlike him. When they had time to be out with their friends, he would be in the house studying. Neither his mom nor dad went to college. His mom graduated high school and got a typing job but lost it due to the lack of English. His father was promised to be able to further his education, but it never happened.
When he was in grammar school, “They scorn his desire to succeed. They scorn him for constantly wanting the teacher’s attention and praise. “Kiss Ass,” they call him when his hand swings up in response to every question he hears.”(528). In college, other students sensed that he came a long way from his beginning. They were able tell how much he made change to himself to get where he is. He still dresses like a person that is less fortunate, but how he tries to hide everything about where he comes from disappoints everyone.
In the end, he starts to talk about how through all of his academic success and achievements, there is still a feeling of emptiness that he feels. Sometimes he felt like he didn’t belong. When he finds Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy at the end of his education, he found what he calls the “Scholarship boy” and he finally finds a description of himself. Throughout his essay, you will see various references to him and the “scholarship boy”, such as how a void must be created between the student and his family, which he finds to ring true to his own life. He is able to shape his entire educational success on this terms “For the first time I realized there were students like me.” Hoggart’s description also states that it is only at the end of education that the “scholarship boy” becomes nostalgic “the scholarship boy grows nostalgic because he remains the uncertain scholar, bright enough to have moved from his past, yet unable to feel easy, a part of a community of academics.”(530)
In Conclusion, I really don’t find anything wrong with the way Rodriguez felt about his family. I don’t know how it feels to have both parents not in college or have my siblings out do me but I do understand you live your life yourself and nobody else. It doesn’t matter who is happy with your decisions, it’s your life.
Ways of Reading “The Achievements of Desire” pages 513-529
Cited: Ways of Reading “The Achievements of Desire” pages 513-529