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A Foreign World: Rhetorical Assessment on Richard Rodriguez’s Anthology

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1464
  • Category: Rhetoric

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In “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood,” Richard Rodriguez illustrates the transformation from child to maturing young adult, while addressing the struggles that accompany growing up within an American society as a bilingual Hispanic. Rodriguez crystallizes the emotions of the situation and truly demonstrates the knowledge of what an individual would face in a similar situation, considering most people do not experience such circumstances. While sharing his private thoughts and public encounters, Rodriguez allows the readers to connect with him on a personal level.

He invites the audience to ultimately gain insight on his specific childhood experience, memories that obviously remain close to his heart. Amidst Rodriguez’s anthology, he addresses multiple audiences while attempting to convey his specific childhood events. However, the main audience of the passage includes supporters of bilingual activists. Rodriguez strives to project his story to these certain people in hopes to make a difference for the future generations of children with difficulties adjusting to new surroundings.

For example, Rodriguez addresses certain values that his audience holds while exemplifying, “Supporters of bilingual education today imply that students like me miss a great deal by not being taught in their family’s language (426). ” The ideals that can be assumed within his audience include the main scheme of student success. Supporters of bilingual learning obviously possess the students’ best intentions in mind. Nonetheless, Rodriguez clarifies the ability to truly grasp the issue is impossible without experiencing the situation firsthand, precisely proving the overall purpose for the reading.

The fact that he remains familiar with the audience’s overall concern for bilingual students may stand the cause of why Rodriguez portrays his stance within a recollection of events, rather than bashing the way this situation stands managed. He desires to prove his point lightly, while not coming down too hard on people that retain and fight for the same moral values as he does. He then continues to explain, “What [bilingual supporters] seem not to recognize is that, as a socially disadvantaged child, I considered Spanish to be a private language (426).

Rodriguez understands that the audience means well for the bilingual children, but recognizes that bilingual supporters are missing key factors in adjusting to a foreign life. Although Rodriguez concluded his recollection of childhood on a positive note, he does not fail to distinguish the anxiety that overwhelmed him when the comfortable, private language of Spanish disappeared. His audience understands that children in fact do struggle when faced with such drastic changes within their life, as they are placed in a new atmosphere.

Supporters most likely witness the situation themselves, or know and understand the statistics of the number of bilingual students succeeding in an unfamiliar environment remains considerably low. Bilingual supporters project the idea of carrying the children’s personal Spanish language within the learning and education environment with hopes of making the kids feel more at ease. But Rodriguez proves the exact opposite, as children feel as if their world shuts down when their private, comforting language stands distorted.

The essay portrays both private and public views of bilingual education, as private thinking about loss and failure becomes a public point from an overall experience. The passage allows the audience to take a trip within opposite ends of the spectrum, or the “clash of two worlds (427 Rodriguez)”; the public life of a bilingual child, and the private life experienced at home. Rodriguez projects his private thoughts amidst recalling the events that happened to him as a child and illustrates, “Some nights I’d jump up just hearing his voice (435).

Rodriguez is referring to the sense of belonging that overwhelmed him as a youngster, when his father would arrive home from work and yell out in the ever-familiar Spanish language. The dialect allowed him to feel as if he fit in, while treated like an outcast outside those private family doors. Spanish subsisted as the family connection that remained easily spoken and provided him with relief amid his inconsistent life. The fact that Rodriguez shares these specific events allows the readers to gain insight on the private aspects of bilingual education, while possibly altering their overall view on the topic.

The personal thoughts that stand shared within the essay reveal the intensity of the situation and bring light to undisclosed topics. Rodriguez speaks about his experience within the schooling system and asserts, “What I needed to learn in school was that I had the right, and the obligation to speak the public language. ” On several accounts amid the essay, Rodriguez addresses privately within his thoughts and specific events what he publicly needs and desires to happen. The reality of the situation stands, all Rodriguez wanted to understand was that it remained okay to speak this foreign language.

The country, language, and people all were unfamiliar to this little boy, and he did not feel as if he possessed the obligation to fit in with this strange world. To arrive in the society of unknown and begin to slowly form into the people and surroundings seemed as if he were overstepping the boundaries of right and wrong. Rodriguez’s private thoughts regarding bilingual education expose that he believed Americans looked down upon him and automatically labeled him as the “problem student (422).

He directly took on those perceptions and believed if he continued to try and fit in within the American society, people would judge him as if he were trying to partake in something he was not. Rodriguez projects loss within his private thoughts while describing, “Once I learned the public language, it would never again be easy for me to hear intimate voices (431). ” Although the overall outcome remained beneficial for Rodriguez, as he finally became accustomed to the foreign surroundings, he provides the reader with a private sense of loss.

He continues to feel uneasy about the topic to this day, as he strives to feel the connection he once felt on such a personal level with his relatives and close family. Before adjusting to the change, the English language provided horrible noise for Rodriguez and Spanish remained the only possible reassurance. As acclimation to the American society was gained, the level of connection to family within Rodriguez’s personal life continued to decease.

English remained the language spoke at home, and no longer did the “sounds (Rodriguez 427)” reveal alienation; but rather relief as the clear words of English finally made sense. It was this feeling that resulted in the transformation into adulthood, while the process of acclimating to the foreign environment also revealed the maturing from child to adult. On the other hand, the passage illustrates the public description of bilingual education as well. Rodriguez demonstrates the extent of hardship faced when he depicts, “In public, my father and mother spoke a hesitant, accented, and not always grammatical English (423).

While Rodriguez demonstrates his private struggles, he does not fail to recognize the issues that were publicly advertised for everyone to perceive. The communal aspect on the situation proved to establish an overall point on bilingual experience. A member of the public may distinguish an immigrant as lesser of the society; but Rodriguez strives to provide the audience with public accounts of the situation to perhaps second think about similar situations Americans find themselves in.

Comparable events in life allow Americans to realize they might possibly lend a helping hand to those in need, and understand the deeper aspect of bilingual education and overall experience; which results in much more than simply learning a new language. Foreign members of the community need to feel publicly welcome, and believe as if they too possess the obligation to speak the native tongue. The public experience Rodriguez allocates provides the members of American society with a new understanding and outlook on how to judge bilingual immigrants.

Language proves much more than simply a way to communicate between members of the society; it forms and outlines an individual’s own identity. For example, Rodriguez reveals the restrictions placed on his life when he illuminates, “Nervously. I’d arrive at the grocery store to hear there the sounds of the gringo, reminding me that in this so-big world I was a foreigner (424). ” Language can impact the overall identity of a person if the constraints limit the everyday actions. A person cannot achieve the intended goals, be there best overall self, if one cannot even express their self properly.

The result from not being able to express oneself as wanted may affect ones friends in life, or acquaintances. Also, language can connect the family portion of one’s self-identity. Rodriguez speaks of the tie within his family while he explains, “For a second or two I’d stay, linger there listening. Smiling, […]. ” This statement reveals how language helped Rodriguez form himself and create connections within in his family. He remained very family-oriented while first adjusting to the drastic change.

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