The Desire to Achieve in Rodriguez's "The Achievement of Desire".
"To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act." - Anatole France.
According to Malcolm Forbes "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." In his book "Hunger of Memory", Rodriguez tells the story of his education, an education with its ups and downs. He says "education is not an inevitable or natural step in growing up". Rodriguez may have been a successful student, but, as he realized, his academic success contributed to his alienation from his parents and from his former world. He left the barrio for the British Museum. But, as he argues, the separation from one's parents is a necessary step for everyone's development and education of life. In order for one to experience and participate in public life, one must make this difficult decision of "abandoning" his parents and "the old ways". .
In the essay "The Achievement of Desire" Richard Rodriguez reminisces about his experiences as a scholarship boy. It is through his reminiscing that Rodriguez realizes his academic success came at a price: "For the first time I realized that there were other students like me, and so I was able to frame the meaning of my academic success, its consequent price - the loss".
Richard Rodriguez's "The Achievement of Desire" is a story within a story. The author uses a frame, a literary device to remind him of himself. Rodriguez sees in the fourteen-year-old-girl, the only person who is paying attention to what he says, the only person who grasps on his every word, who's eyes shine with enthusiasm and ambition, the boy who once did the same things to his teachers. He remembers his own background from the very beginning. Having grown up with parents who remained with the traditions of their Hispanic culture, Richard's ambition to learn and to be like his teachers separated him from his roots. His parents" primary language was Spanish.