Bookreview of “Hunger of Memory”
Rodriguez’sautobiography, “Hunger of Memory: The Education of RichardRodriguez”, comprises a brief prologue as well as six autographicalessays that are loosely chronological and intertwined. In the firstchapter of the book, the author describes his childhood experiencewhile struggling to learn English language. In this case, language isregarded to be the most crucial of the author’s education. Thus, herecounts the experience he underwent while attending a catholicschool located in Sacramento, California. The author criticizesbilingual education arguing that it deprives children off theopportunity to learn the public language. However, the authorcontends that the proficiency in public language is the key tosuccesses within the public world.
Readersshould note that Rodriguez came from Spanish-speaking background.With this regard, the author argues that school-going children oughtto abandon their language of origin to enter the so-called “publicsociety” (Rodriguez 27). On the contrary, the author stronglycriticizes bilingual education by asserting that such kind ofeducation is misguided. In Chapter 2 of the book, “The Achievementof Desire,” the author reflects on the manner in which his academicsuccess has changed the relationship with his culture and the family.With this regard, the author criticizes his academic success claimingthat it separated him not only form his parents but also from hisculture of origin. According to the author, his love for readingbooks as well as his parents’ jobs contributed greatly towards hisacademic success.
TheSpanish language is important to other Latino groups such as Cubansand Colombians in two aspects. First, there is a rise in the use ofSpanish language in the U.S. Secondly many students are studyingSpanish language in the United States’ colleges. As a result, anumber of literatures have been published in Spanish. However,despite the fact that there is always a constant immigration ofHispanics into the U.S., the future of Spanish language in the U.S.may decline due to the negative influence of bilingual language. Both education and language are related to the status of the LatinoU.S. society in various aspects. To start with, education is the keyto the success of these so called “minority groups” in the UnitedStates. As the author claims, despite the fact that education madehim to be alienated from his family and culture of origin, itnonetheless made him to enter into the American Society.
Moreover,it is worth noting that it was the desire of Rodriguez parents thathe should enter into the American Society. Thus, Rodriguez utilizedthe opportunity of pursuing education in the U.S. to enter into theAmerican society. The importance of education among Latino U.S.society is emphasized in the book’s prologue, “Middle-ClassPastoral,” in which the author refers to himself as a “middleclass American man” (Rodriguez 3) who is fully assimilated into theAmerican Society. However, the author cautions against middle class’s“pastoral” impulse to “deny its difference from the lowerclass” (Rodriguez 6). Besides, language is also necessary towardsacademic success. The author is right in criticizing bilingualeducation because of its makes children to have a distorted view oftheir language of origin.
Onthe other hand, Rodriguez opposes the Affirmative Action efforts forvarious reasons. In chapter 5 of the book, “Profession,” theauthor vividly recounts the experience he underwent through hishigher education. This began in during the 1960s when there was CivilRights Movement in the United States (Rodriguez 147). The AffirmativeAction programs started during the 1970s in both universities andcolleges in the country. With this regard, the author objects theAffirmative Action programs despite the fact that he benefitted fromthem. Readers should note that Rodriguez was labeled as the minorityduring the Civil Rights movement. Therefore, perhaps this could beone of the reasons as to why the he objects the Affirmative Actionprograms. This is because the Affirmative Action Programs resultedfrom the Civil Rights.
However,the author’s fervent objection to such programs originates from thebelief that the Affirmative Action programs are misguided. In thelight of this, the Rodriguez contends that his imminent success inthe job market is because of the misconception regarding hisidentity. In this case, as a minority student, Rodriguez was “analien from public life” (Rodriguez 147). This is due to the factthat the author was confident of a “public identity” (Rodriguez164). As a result, the author contends that the affirmative actionprograms were meant to benefit the privileged people in the society.The author further notes that the middle class and educated peoplelike him will eventually be successful irrespective whether theaffirmative action programs exist or not. As a result, the authorwrites that reform programs should be focused on secondary andprimary schooling but not to higher education levels.
Rodriguez Richard. Hunger of Memory: The Education of RichardRodriguez, 2004. California: Random House Publishing group. Print