This dealing with silence reminds me of my efforts in struggling with this phenomenon of silence when I studied in Mexico and lived with Mexican families; especially in the rural communities, where I tried to write about what I considered the impenetrable face/masks and their silence. But I never thought for a moment that their masks did not conceal an imagination or thought processes, not that they were not developing and inventing constantly their own world view and perceptions. And that, although they were not speaking to me and hardly to each other, they were not actively thinking. Richard Rodriguez delves into silence, and writes from silence as he himself tells us, “I am here alone, writing, and what most moves me is the silence.” Truly this is an active task for him.

Decades ago Rodriguez a “comic victim of two cultures” gained some notoriety for opposing bilingual ed and affirmative action when to suggest so was heresy among liberals. Fine, but these essays are intriguing, intelligent and somber, unlike today’s mean-spirited and mindless right.

Guided Language Essay

Unlike Richard Rodriguez I’m not a Mexican-American, but I did grow up in a Spanish-speaking household since my mother is Puerto Rican. Of all the books about and by Hispanics I’ve read before or since, this is the one I most identified with, that really resonated and spoke to me.

  • It is only with “extraordinary determination and the great majestic assistance of others—at home and at school—that a working class student can succeed” .
  • Rodríguez offers himself as another example in criticizing affirmative action programs.
  • I hope one day someone might write a rebuttal memoir to this memoir so I can read about the life of someone who didn’t grow up to be someone with his head stuck up his ass trying to find the meaning of life through color.
  • I want to embrace my culture and the fact that there is someone out there who wants to throw theirs away angers me.

This is a story of a Mexican-American child who excels at reading, writing and, by his adulthood, alienating his simple parents. This is the author coming to be a public individual , so much so that he violates both his parents’ privacy and the collective needs of immigrants—i.e. Heritage and Affirmative Action, but does so for interesting reasons that are worth disagreeing with. “Credo” is an excellent, assignable sketch of the different cultures of American Catholicism in the early 60s.

Analysis Of ‘ Fog Falling On Cedars ‘

My sense of the urgency of the question of what it means to possess or lose an ethnic identity has been sharpened by some recent work of Michaels (“Rule” and “Race”), who, however, seems to me to press individualism and voluntarism too far. On the one hand, it was deployed in the 1960s primarily as a performative, of a type I propose to call an identitive. Such persons could then be denounced as vendidos ‘sellouts’ if they failed or refused to cooperate in the creation of the new identity. In his playful inversion of “public” and “private” gestures, Rodriguez almost seems to be teasing critics who have complained of the “dichotomy between the public and private self” (J. Saldívar, “The School of Caliban,” 315) in their discussions of Hunger. R. Saldívar finds in Rodriguez’s separation of the “individual private inner self over the social public outer self” a “rhetorically highlighted, publicly apologetic voice” with no consistent dialectical interplay (“Ideologies,” 27). In the best discussion of public/private voices, Eakin characterizes the voices as “one expository and one narrative … with distinctly lyric overtones,” observing that their interplay “reenacts the split that is their common theme” . Following Sollors, who identifies “consent and descent” as the defining dramatic tension in American culture , Ferraro consistently uses the image of “descent lines” to describe forms of ethnic persistence.

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As in many nonfiction books, Mr. Rodriguez has the tendency to re-state his case repeatedly in various permutations. This is more a story of his early years and the mental negotiations of being “a scholarship boy.” –Which he continually refers to in ponderous parentheses. Well, being an 8-year scholarship girl, I feel I have to say he is a little bit right and a little bit making excuses for his own conservatism and trying to trace it to a larger dynamic. “Timeless” would be an appropriate adjective, but “the 1950s” serves just as well. The band did not start as its line-up consists of today.

Example Of Literacy Narrative Essay

The implication is that the colonized servants learn “conceit” from the aristocrats or upper classes and subsequently hold up a mirror, albeit rhetorical. In a sense, this accounts for Rodríguez’s fondness for the pastoral, the form of impersonation “felt to imply a beautiful relation between rich and poor,” where the elite get to be shepherds for a day and conduct a “courtship between contrasted social classes” . According to Burke, William Empson’s Some Versions of Pastoral, which Rodríguez read, was a “response to a vogue for ‘proletarian’ literature,” and thereby “profoundly concerned with the rhetoric of courtship between contrasted social classes” (ibid.). César’s was a sin of vanity, a belief in the possibility of an earthly paradise, but the “greater sin” was, Rodriguez confesses, “my unwillingness to embrace life” .

Like the UFW pilgrimage, it is at once inauthentic (the “goddess” is bored as she sings) and not broad enough . Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, Rodríguez is aware of his undeniable, metonymically articulated relation to the migrant via racialization and language. Through this evident relation, “White America” would want him to “claim unbroken ties with past” .

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Rodriguez contradicts himself over and over again and many of his statements are very hypocritical. He argues that elementary education needs reform, yet he knows nothing of the public school system in which the majority of minorities go through in this country. In my opinion, he is completely out of touch with the subject matter he discusses and therefore it makes it hard for me to see any merit in his stances.

the lonely good company of books by richard rodriguez

To respect this type of sensibility is something I learned in the Spanish-taught “escuelita,” which I attended before entering public school at age 7. However, I have difficulties with concepts in the book which I consider anti-humanistic. For several reasons I consider Hunger of Memory as a humanistic antithesis. This book has been controversial for the Hispanic in general and in particular to the Mexican-American or Chicano.

My Personal Philosophy Of Literacy

What one senses in Hunger of Memory is that his parents no longer speak. The sensibility of his writing effort, I dare say, does not come only from his training in the English language, but from those early day experiences when he was taught, I am sure, the way to invent himself in the world by his parents. Despite the fact that both Douglass and Rodriguez had a passion to read and write, to a large extent, their learning experiences were different. Rodriguez identifies himself as an ambitious person, but his negative descriptions of the life of a scholar-professor raise the question of whether his ambition of achieving academic success has been misplaced. Describing his year as a Fulbright scholar in the U.K., Rodriguez talks often of the loneliness of scholars. He begins to wonder if anyone besides his supervisor will ever read his dissertation and even to question whether being an academic counts as an act of social withdrawal of the kind he so abhors . Little by little, it becomes clear that the world of academia is not satisfying to Rodriguez.

the lonely good company of books by richard rodriguez

He entertains the shrewd surmise that the pressure to “de-Europeanize” the Roman Church came not so much from Third World Catholics as from middle-class Catholics in North America and Western Europe, inhabitants of the “secular city” . The initial word of the Creed—once Credo, “I believe”—has been changed to “We believe” in an effort to assure Catholics they are not alone or solitary in their faith. “This assurance is necessary because, in a sense, it no longer is true” . The Catholicism of his youth was a quite different matter.

Discussion lonely company of good books docx

I support the use of English in the classroom because that’s what this society tends to use. English is the de facto official language of the classroom, of the country. If you all changed tomorrow and decided you all wanted to speak Esperanto, then I would become the great defender of Esperanto. It is, curiously, the lonely good company of books by richard rodriguez because of the Americanness of the public schools that they are less able to do what private schools can do, and that is teach us our communal relationships. American institutions end up becoming very American, and you have schools now that are supposed to teach little Hispanic kids to be privately Hispanic.

  • This idea was repeated by his teachers that reading was the main activity of learning.
  • Before Linda Chavez and other neoconservatives, he attacked liberals for rejoicing in the promotion of blacks and Hispanics as “victims,” and for allowing their guilt to shape affirmative-action programs.
  • He could embrace not only his educational achievements or the concept of the scholarship boy, but also his working class Mexican American culture and the Spanish language.

Liturgy, of course, provides a script for performance, and here we discover another key to the structuring of Rodriguez’s prose. All these elements come together in a narrative performance that aspires to the significance of liturgy. And like the liturgies that Rodriguez recalls from High Mass feast days in the wooden Mexican church, this liturgy is “cluttered” with sensational effects and shadowy presences.

policy documents produce real social effects through the production and

His attempts at transcendent, mobile vision are haunted by the relationships he refuses and a desire for connection made to seem impossible by his totalizing vantage point. How do literary works differ in style and outlook among writers who retained their first language and writers who lost their knowledge of Spanish . In “Complexion,” Rodriguez claims as powerful the dark-skinned and “unmanly” talkative identities his family taught him to hate. Through the autobiographical enterprise, he rights the identities others tried to write for him. Although the identities he insists upon may not tell the whole story of Richard Rodriguez, his conscious and unconscious shaping of his autobiography produces a text much more complex than the pronouncements of his critics would allow. Maybe what is happening in the Americas right now is that the Indian is very much alive. I represent someone who has swallowed English and now claims it as my language, your books as my books, your religion as my religion—maybe this is the most subversive element of the colonial adventure.

Paz describes the Mexican as “the fruit of a violation” , an “hijo de la chingada,” where the chingada is the Indian woman violated by a Spaniard . Žižek has influentially expounded the concept of the performative function of political signifiers. For a critique of Žižek and further exploration of this type of performativity, see Butler 187–222. Rivera (“Antithesis” 406), Saldívar (12–13), and Keefe and Padilla (191–92) all note the heterogeneity of the Chicano-Chicana population but do not pursue this observation to any radical consequence. Bruce-Novoa is the only critic I know who comes close to recognizing the depth of what he calls the “interior division” of Chicano-Chicana identity . In Rodriguez’s discussion of his brown body, Danahay finds evidence of repressed sexual desire and Paredes discovers ethnic self-hatred . The term was coined by Rothenberg, “circa 1967” for intercultural verbal performance.

Essay title: Comparative Analysis

And like Franklin, “whose name never heard” , the teenaged Hoffman devises programs of “physical, intellectual, spiritual and creative” self-improvement, efforts similar to those that turned Jimmy Gatz into Jay Gatsby. Franklin’s description of his achievements, raising himself “from the poverty and obscurity in which was born … to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world” , anticipates Hoffman’s account of her own success. In both texts, conversion, the objective of spiritual autobiography, is transformed into wealth and social prestige. Hoffman fails to acknowledge ways to start a quote the inadequacy of an eighteenth-century male vision which, among other things, assumes the absence of racial and sexual prejudice and discrimination in a classless society in the contemporary context. On the contrary, she discounts issues of race, class, and gender in her own description of school and university. Being also relatively unconcerned with her Jewishness, as I have mentioned before, she blames her struggles for Americanization on the fact that English was not her first language, discounting the possibility that her Jewish-Polish descent might have been an obstacle.

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