08 April 2014


The excerpt is about a young boy, Richard, who initially struggles to learn English and goes on to struggle to understand his first language, Spanish. In the beginning he talks of the joy he got when his family would get together and speak Spanish. He also talks about how much his public and private life differentiated. When he would be home with his family, he would be outspoken and happy, whereas when in his English-speaking school he would be shy and afraid to talk. Once the nuns at his school acknowledged it was a language problem within the family, they encouraged Richard's parents to speak more English at home. At first, Richard would still be shy but pay very close attention to English words and pronunciation by his peers. Eventually, after the enforcement of learning English, Richard and his family didn't talk much in Spanish or to each other. He also notes that his father was viewed as shy by his siblings because he didn't speak much, but, in fact, he spoke very willingly and confidently with their Spanish-speaking family members. Soon, hearing Spanish became a painful memory for Richard because it reminded him of intimate memories his family shared while speaking Spanish.

I believe the purpose of Richard's story is to show how being bilingual affected him growing up. The excerpt displays a cause and effect relationship. In the beginning, primarily speaking Spanish at home cause him and his family to be very happy at home together BUT while in school, he was shy because he rarely spoke English. Then learning English as a family was also a happy time and it encouraged him to not be as shy. Then in the end, primarily speaking English caused him to feel a sadness at home because he missed speaking Spanish privately BUT it made him more outspoken in class when speaking English. I think the reader has to make the connection between the claim and evidence because there can be many different interpretations of what the purpose/claim may be.

Overall, I enjoyed the reading. I felt sad for Richard that he couldn't find a balance between speaking both languages. I thought it was funny that he said his name was "Rich-heard Road-ree-guess" mainly because my cousin's name is Rodriguez and that's exactly how most Americans pronounce his name.

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