Richard Rodriguez, "The Achievement of Desire": Analysis Essay

1421 Words Oct 30th, 2011 6 Pages
Stephanie Li
Professor Pines
Rhetoric 101
8 October 2011
Word Count: 1394
Rodriguez’s Transformation: Developing a “Sociological Imagination” In his essay, “The Achievement of Desire,” Richard Rodriguez informs readers that he was a scholarship boy throughout his educational career. He uses his own personal experiences, as well as Richard Hoggart’s definition of the “scholarship boy,” to describe himself as someone who constantly struggles with balancing his life between family and education, and ends up on the side of education. In recognizing himself as a “scholarship boy,” he shows that he has gained what sociologist C. Wright Mills terms the “sociological imagination,” which “enables its possessor to understand the larger
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His father received very little formal education in Mexico, until he left school to work for his uncle, and ended up in America with no high school education and a low-paying job. Although his parents were not educated enough to help him with his homework or support him with his education as much as they wanted to, Rodriguez finally realizes that his parents wanted to give their children the “chances the never had” (521). As a child, and as a “scholarship boy,” Rodriguez “evaded nostalgia” (519) and tried to forget about his conflict between education and culture. In fact, he did his best to block out his past all the way until he was in London. However, when Rodriguez finally looked back at his childhood, he was able to objectively see what he lost because of his focus on “getting educated” (528). He developed a “sociological imagination,” and was finally able to see that there is a common theme in society, and that this common theme or social force directly affects him and his life. In his essay, Rodriguez tells us how education affected him. He was so focused on getting a good education that he failed to realize the lessons that were put in front of him. For example, Rodriguez was too interested in his books and learning more facts, and not interested enough in the big picture. He read many non-fiction books, textbooks, and fictional novels, and asked himself why he read them. He said that “they

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