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Book Review Hunger of Memory

Book Review Hunger of Memory

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Published by Leopoldo Peña

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Published by: Leopoldo Peña on Feb 27, 2012
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Leopoldo Peña Ms. Carmichael US History/MUN 20 September 2010 Book Review: ³Hunger of Memory´ by Richard Rodriguez ³Hunger of Memory´ is an autobiography which depicts the life of Richard Rodriguez, a Mexican-American Writer, and English Literature Teacher. Rodriguez describes the hardship of adapting to the use of English, which he describes as a ³public language´, during his earlier years of primary education. This change led to the lack of communication within his family, mainly because his parents were forced to speak English to Richard and his siblings, due to the inability of the children to speak Spanish. Rodriguez recognizes that due to this change he immersed himself to a larger degree in the act of reading as a child, which he denotes is a way to attain knowledge, and education, which leads to one of the main points the author makes: Education is one of the most important factors in life. The author constantly alludes to the differences education made in his life, such as the way in which he viewed himself within society. He constantly refers to himself as a middle class American, a state which he achieved through the arduous task of constantly submitting to study. This passionate drive towards education and the attainment of knowledge becomes the main factor to why he labels himself a ³scholarship boy´, which "feels himself weighted with knowledge of his own and [his class'] situation, which hereafter forbids him the simpler pleasures of his mother and father", as described by Richard Hoggart. The use of the term, ³scholarship boy´, is one of the techniques used by Rodriguez to emphasize the importance of education in the process of ³making it´, as described by Rodriguez, which strongly supports the main theme of the book, ³Education is key´. Not only does Rodriguez state the importance of education, but he also speaks out against the policy of affirmative action, and by this he separates himself from the Chicano community which at the time, 1965, strongly supported this policy. . Even though Rodriguez separates himself from the non-educated Hispanic community by his devotion towards education, he also sacrifices his family, his roots, and his beliefs. He leaves behind most of the things his family struggles to inculcate onto his personality, such as the importance of family, and religion. The author constantly recognizes how much he has separated himself from his family, the way in which he was no longer able to communicate with his family in the intimate way in which he did before he began to receive education at grammar school. Rodriguez never attempts to rekindle the way in which his family was able to communicate and be a whole. Considering that this was a sacrifice he had to make to continue his education, it might have been acceptable, yet he never seeks to reunite his family after he has completed his education. He enables his family to turn into a dysfunctional family, which is one of the few things that the reader should disapprove of, considering that this is a problem which strikes many American families in the present. He also separates himself from the Catholic Church, in which he served as an altar boy for during his childhood years, by openly accepting his homosexuality, which should not be mistaken as a bad thing by itself, yet the fact that he went against all of the

Rodriguez is currently 64 years old. which completely relates to the MUN program. which the Chicano community completely supported. and family. his views on many subjects are surprisingly. in 1982. yet he wrote the book when he was 38. This book should be read by anyone that wishes to further comprehend the struggles of a person growing up in two different cultures. They are organized by different aspects of his life that have shaped him as a person. as he went to a private Catholic school. born in 1944. The book was written by Richard Rodriguez. the complete opposite of what the Chicano community denotes as appropriate.´ by recognizing that the main difference between the students being accepted due to the policy of Affirmative Action and himself was education. as he states: ³The strategy of affirmative action. and this book does exactly that. The author presents the course of his life in an understandable manner even if the events are not organized in a chronological order.Peña 2 education he received as a child regarding the church¶s points of views. and to surpass the conditions which relegated their parents within society. was opposed by Richard Rodriguez. The book illustrates the way in which a person must grow. and culture to achieve higher education. The author identifies himself as a middle class American. did not take seriously the educational dilemma of disadvantaged students. and fairly easy to follow. finally. or his experiences during his studies at Stanford University. Because in this program it is necessary to comprehend the different points of view which exist. a Mexican American Writer. As an autobiography. They need good early schooling!´ Rodriguez recurs again to his main theme:´Education is key. Reading this book broadens the view of anyone who has not themselves experienced a clash of cultures within their childhood. the author¶s accounts. For example. . in this case the lack of it. The author¶s main reason to oppose this policy is regarding education. and sacrifice things so dear to them such as family. which may indicate in some cases the reason why he took an opposing stance regarding policies such as affirmative action. such as his close relationship to the Catholic Church during the earlier years of his life when he served as an altar boy. Even though he is of Mexican origins. The way in which he displays his life is easily understandable by the common reader. the book is undoubtedly composed of reliable primary sources. the topic of Affirmative Action.

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