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Hunger of Memory Paper

            The Assimilation of Richard Rodriguez.
             In Hunger of Memory, by Richard Rodriguez, the author situates his individual experiences with education so that eventually there is a rift between his private and public selves. This becomes more ingrained as he furthers his education and it affects his views on the logic behind affirmative action and bilingual education. Summarized briefly, Rodriguez' life could hardly be called unique or special. A boy with some Indian blood, he was born in California to parents, who had left their native Mexico to seek a better life. He was educated by Catholic nuns in Sacramento, Americanized, assimilated painfully yet successfully. Rodriguez can not be captured in such a summary. Many Hispanic-Americans express a tension between their ethnic culture and American culture. Rodriguez is unique because even though his struggle with identity as a Mexican-American might appear typical, the outcome was a completely assimilated American, who holds beliefs contrary to many Hispanic-Americans in that he argues against bi-lingual education.
             Early in life Rodriguez knew and felt that he was living two lives simultaneously. He was Ricardo and he was Richard (16). At home, his Spanish speaking family retained and guarded their Mexican way of life. The very language of Spanish began to symbolize home and family. The soft sounds were a comfort to him. At school, Richard learned English; the nuns demanded he be an American and his parents agreed with the wishes of the Church that Richard should not speak Spanish at home anymore. .
             Surely many thousands of Mexican-Americans have lived the same divided life. For example the movie "Mi Familia" spans three generations of an immigrated Hispanic family. It touches on one family's struggle to stay together and survive the mean streets of East Los Angeles. "Mi Familia" is a portrait of how important culture and family are among Latino households.

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