Richard Rodriguez: Hunger For Memory Essay

897 words - 4 pages

Hunger for More: The incredible Life of Richard Rodriguez"Once upon a time, I was a 'socially disadvantaged' child. An enchantedly happy child. Mine was a childhood of intense family closeness. And extreme public alienation. Thirty years later I write this book as a middle class American man. Assimilated"(1). Richard Rodriguez wrote this in the prologue to his autobiography, Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez. Rodriguez focuses on a few reoccurring themes like the difference between private and public life, his identity, and education. Without his ability to have such intimacy while writing, his thoughts could have never been portrayed as they are. This book is more than an average autobiography; it holds a more personal account of his achievements and how he got there.Richard Rodriguez writes as if he is having a conversation. He maintains an active voice and hides nothing from his audience. With these aspects in mind , his writing becomes very personal, as if you are actually getting know him as a individual not just an author. He shares his thoughts and feelings from his experiences like he was confiding in a friend, but knows that his writing is for the unknown reader. In the last chapter of the book, "Mr. Secrets", the relationship that he is building with the reader is acknowledged: "I write slowly because I write under the obligation to make myself clear to someone who knows nothing bout me...I knew that my words were meant for a public reader" (202).Unfortunately, that openness is not part of his family's culture. His mother confides only in close family and could not imagine otherwise, "'You mean that people tell a psychiatrist about their personal lives?'"(199). It is not something that his family necessarily approves of or is used to, but they accept that writing is his profession and that comes with certain circumstances.The book is split up into six chapters, each with their own themes and messages. There is little to no transition between those chapters, but none is necessary because they hold such separate and powerful ideas. All of them, of course, show progression throughout his life and present different aspects to be examined. For example, in the first chapter, "Aria", he focuses on the sound of language. In this chapter, he is very young and has a minute understanding of both his private language, Spanish, and the public language, English. Without necessarily knowing what people are saying, he noted and analyzed how they said it and what that represented. His parents knew very little English, but Rodriguez observed that when they spoke it, they used a different voice, revealing how uncomfortable they were...

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