24 April 2014

Hunger of Memory

The excerpt I read from "Hunger of Memory" is about a young male named Richard Rodriguez. Initially, he struggles to learn and understand English but further reading goes to show he learns English then struggles to understand his first language, Spanish. First, Richard expresses how speaking Spanish with his family bought him joy. He also expressed how different life was for him at school and at home. With his family, Richard was outspoken and happy. While in his English-speaking school, he was quiet and afraid to talk because he knew he was no good at English. The nuns at Richard's school noticed the language barrier within his family and encouraged his parents to speak more English with Richard and his siblings. Richard, naturally, was still shy but paid very close attention to the way his peers would pronounced their words. Over time, Richard and his siblings spoke English very well, causing them to not speak Spanish at home. He also notes that his siblings made fun of their dad, who did not partake in their English conversations, for being shy. But Richard noticed that his father, in fact, was not shy. When around their Spanish-speaking family members, their father was extremely outspoken and interactive. Soon after strictly speaking English, hearing Spanish became a painful memory for Richard because it reminded him of the intimate memories he shared with his family.

I enjoyed reading this because I felt his happiness and sadness throughout the excerpt. I found humor in how he said they pronounced his name. I also feel bad because I feel like him being forced to learn English and not speak Spanish is ridiculous. He suppresses his Spanish identity to assume a more "American" identity to please society. I think it is good that he learned English but his parents and teachers should have tried to find a balance between the two languages. Without them doing that, it sort of implies that being different isn't always a good thing.

1 comment:

  1. This is well-written, Aliyah, but what assignment did you write it for?