An Analysis Of Age Differences In Richard Rodriguez's Days Of Obligation

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Growing up under both the influence of his parents’ Mexican culture and his own experience of a more modern California, Richard Rodriguez seemed to have the best of both worlds. His Mexican lifestyle was the way of tradition and cynicism, and his California lifestyle was the way of defiance and optimism. However, as he writes in his book Days of Obligation, this clash between cultures only conflicted his feelings. Rodriguez’s acknowledgement of the age and the religion of California and Mexico allows himself to explore his identity struggle. With the big age difference between Mexico and California, Rodriguez finds himself facing the paradox of Mexican rigidity or California novelty. Mexico, having been established much before California,…show more content…
In Mexico, the primary religion is Roman Catholicism, one of the oldest religious institutions. Protestantism, a newer branch of Christianity, broke away from Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation when some Catholics disagreed with the way the Church was run. Even this religious disagreement dating back to the 16th century reflects the more rebellious atmosphere of California compared to Mexico. Rodriguez writes, “The Catholic—the Mexican— impulse was pushed back, vanquished by comedy; a Protestant conquest.” (17-19) The gritty tone presented in this statement indicates an obvious animosity between Catholicism and Protestantism, an animosity that could easily bleed into his own family. By choosing the Californian lifestyle, Rodriguez is indirectly choosing Protestantism over his family’s religion. Choosing a new religion would distance himself from his family further and further away from him. Part of his unease in choosing between Mexico and California stems from not wanting to upset his family by neglecting his family-old

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