Hunger Of Memory By Richard Rodriguez

1387 Words 6 Pages
“Aria” is a chapter from a book titled Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez concerning the topic of English acquisition for migrants. Rodriguez shares his past experiences as a Mexican-American whom had attended public schooling in Sacramento, California during his childhood years. The purpose of bilingual education is to allow foreign speakers to communicate in their “family language” at school to develop skills before maneuvering into standardized classes. His bitter interpretation of this program is that the method alters personal identity and does not fulfill the purpose that activists had set out, which was to maintain migrant’s primary language of Spanish while becoming fluent in English. Through utilizing personal experiences, the author …show more content…
Through this claim, Rodriguez proceeds back to the discussion on bilingual education. Additionally, his rejection on the bilingual program at public school ties in with his personal feelings about his desired image in this society: to fit in with his surroundings. Previous feelings of embarrassment and envy are both reasons behind the author’s goals in life to be confident and successful in this English dominated community. He trusts that to fully fit into society and to be “publicly confident,” they must conform to the American lifestyle, even if it means losing their first language because “intimacy is not trapped within words. It passes through words” (Rodriguez 395, 399). With this as his current mindset, Rodriguez judges that there is no loss in learning a second language because actions can still express feelings, therefore acquiring English is a beneficial choice to him. The author continues discussing the benefits of Americanization by emphasizing advantageous topics such as individual rights, success with power, higher economic status, public face, and confidence. He concludes that feelings and expressions can come in different forms, and that language is simply one …show more content…
Although he assures that losing one’s primary language amid learning a second one does not necessarily cause harm, but instead can be beneficial, there are many disadvantages that he does not mention. For an example, he does not discuss in depth what comes along with losing one’s first language. After one loses their first dialect, they lose a portion of people that they can communicate effectively to. Other works claim that majority of the time, these non-English speakers are the ones whom the English learner originally grew up and associated with first. As a result of one’s inability to interact fluently with individuals, such as family members, they begin associating themselves with more English speaking people rather than non-English speakers, further immerging into the American lifestyle. Consequently, their customs and beliefs also alters because of whom they are most frequently in touch with. It is not only the fact that these English learners lose their first language, but they also lose their original identity. There is more to obtaining a secondary language than just losing a primary dialect, and the author misses the opportunity to include this information in this work. Other writings, such as “Bilingualism en casa” by Ana Celia Zentella, include recorded observations concerning the differences in an individual’s experiences when learning a second language and how they vary. Rodriguez is one of a numerous

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