Richard Rodriguez's Ari A Memoir Of A Bilingual Childhood

1392 Words 6 Pages
As we grow into adulthood our primary goal in life is to build an education. To figure out what career we want to pursue. The texts by Sherman Alexie, Mike Rose, and Richard Rodriguez have all discussed how their background has influenced their education and upbringing to adulthood. “Blue-Collar Brilliance” by Mike Rose highlights how society determines the intelligence of workers based on their job or career. In Richard Rodriguez’s “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood,” his education and childhood was affected by his culture. Whereas in Alexie’s “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” there were lower standards on education for him based on his race. These three essays examine how society has shaped their lives and perspective. …show more content…
He had trouble learning in class, knew less than a hundred words in English, and “was fated to be the “problem student” in class (Rodriguez par. 3). At the time all he heard was sounds and because of the language barrier his family had felt an intimacy at home and alienated in public. Rodriguez being fluent in only Spanish at the time made studying strenuous since the work was in English. He writes that, “without question, it would have pleased me to have heard my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid…But I would have delayed…having to learn the language of public society. I would have evaded…learning the great lesson of school: that I had a public identity” (Rodriguez par. 20). Not knowing much of the English became the barrier that prevented him from being understood by others. After his parents implemented English at home he “finally came to accept what had been technically true since my birth: I was an American citizen.” (Rodriguez par. 29) Over time he mastered English which allowed him to discover his public identity, but it broke the ties he had at home and affected his parents …show more content…
In “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” he had taught himself how to read at the age of 3. As a child, he loved reading like his father and read whenever he could. With his analytical mind he started to see the world in paragraphs. “I didn’t have the vocabulary to say “paragraph,” but I realized that a paragraph was a fence that held words. The words inside a paragraph worked together for a common purpose. They had some specific reason for being inside the same fence” (Alexie 12). He saw how to world was classified, from the schools to his house and his family. With this knowledge, Alexie was able to depict the messages in the Superman comic book. He learned quicker than the children in his class, but as an Indian boy he was seen as the odd child. “We were Indian children who were expected to be stupid” (Alexie 13). He was a quick-witted kid. Believed that race could not measure the intellect in a person, almost similar to the belief of Rose. At a young age he “reads “Grapes of Wrath” in kindergarten when other children are struggling through “Dick and Jane. If he’d been anything but an Indian boy living on the reservation, he might have been called a prodigy. But he is an Indian boy living on the reservation and is simply an oddity” (Alexie 13). His race had created this unrealistic expectation, so Alexie used books and the knowledge they held as way to escape

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