Hunger Of Memory By Richard Rodriguez's Hunger Of Memory

923 Words 4 Pages
In my culture, we always have to learn to speak Russian at home and around family, but English at school and around friends. It’s a difficult time switching between two languages in two different places and types of people separating the two languages. There are two essays called “The New Bathroom Policy at English High School” by Martin Espada and “Hunger of Memory” by Richard Rodriguez which both explain different perspectives of bilingualism. In bilingualism, there is a private language for home and a public language for school and friends which show two different kinds of environments also deciding on whether you should learn the public language or not.
First and foremost in Espada's essay, he defines bilingualism as a way to retain your
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When he was a young child, he spoke primarily in his main language Spanish. It meant the world to him, creating a comfortable language in his home life, while English became the language he heard spoken by strangers and friends outside the home. When he first heads to school when he was young he says, “Because I wrongly imagined that English was intrinsically a public language and Spanish an intrinsically private language, I easily noted the difference between classroom language and the language of home,” (Rodriguez 21). The public language is spoken around school and friends, while the private language is spoken at home and between family. Acquiring a public identity means you’d have to sacrifice pieces of your private language to start speaking the public language. When discovering the public language he says, “We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tightly by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness…When I arrived home there would often be neighborhood kids in the house” (Rodriguez 24). Rodriguez found his public language and identity but he lost the intimacy with his family, no longer bound tightly in culture. Instead, he discovers friends at his house showing that the sacrifice of the public language was made to gain a public …show more content…
Back in elementary and middle school, I used to go to the class called ELD (English Language Development) which taught us how to go from the private language we spoke to then learn how to speak English. We didn’t really have a choice whether to speak English or not because since we are in America and English is counted as the main, dominant language causing us to have to learn it in school. So schools have forced us to become dominant with English which can cause all of our different culture to disappear and get lost. Looking at the American school systems and other schools around the USA I found out that languages other than English are all just electives or a chose whether you want to learn them or not. But at the same time it is required to at least take a language class twice in two years in your high school to be able to graduate with a diploma. Every now and then I also see kids come here from different countries who speak several languages like Russian, Spanish, and etc. Watching them go through ELD I see the struggle going between two languages and being forced to constantly learn and do English homework. They start to lose everything including their language, culture, and identity. Being bilingual is just a choice whether to lose your private identity or

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