Analysis of Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez
Richard Rodriguez?s essay, Hunger of Memory, narrates the course of his educational career. Rodriguez tells of the unenthusiastic and disheartening factors that he had to endure along with his education such as isolation and lack of innovation. It becomes apparent that Rodriguez believes that only a select few go through the awful experiences that he underwent. But actually the contrary is true. The majority of students do go through the ?long, unglamorous, and demeaning process? of education, but for different reasons (Rodriguez, 68). Instead of pursuing education for the sake of learning, they pursue education for the sake of job placement.
Even from an early age, Rodriguez is a successful student. Everyone is extremely proud of Rodriguez for earning awards and graduating to each subsequent level of his education. But all his success was not necessarily positive. In fact, we see that his education experience is a fairly negative one. One negative that Rodriguez endures is his solitude. Education compels him to distance himself from his family and heritage. According to Richard Hoggart, a British education theorist, this is a very natural process for a scholarship boy. Hoggart explains that the ?home and classroom are at cultural extremes,? (46). There is especially an opposition in Rodriguez?s home because his parents are poorly educated Mexicans. His home is filled with Spanish vernacular and English filled with many grammatical errors. Also, the home is filled with emotions and impetuosity, whereas the classroom lacks emotion and the teachers accentuate rational thinking and reflectiveness.
The conflict between the classroom and the home environment starts off weak and gets stronger and stronger until Rodriguez needs to choose one way or the other. In the beginning, Rodriguez would simply correct his parent?s grammatical errors. He also proudly tells his parents that his teacher said that he is losing any traces of a Spanish accent. Soon, his parents can no longer help him with his homework. His family starts to jokingly make fun of him for reading so much. Rodriguez recalls that sometimes his mother would approach him while studying and try to talk to him. But he responded coldly to her inquiries. ?Instead of the flood of intimate sounds that had once flowed smoothly between [them], there was this silence,? (51). He feels that spending time with his family is a waste, or it could be better spent studying. Rodriguez loses the intimate connection he has with his parents, especially his mother. This is detrimental to his emotional well being because it contributes to his seclusion. However, Rodriguez is not truly in solitude until he actively pursues it.
Rodriguez begins to actively distance himself from his family and heritage. On nights when the house is filled with Spanish speaking relatives, he leaves the house as a way of breaking the...