"Public and Private Language" by Richard Rodriguez is a thought-provoking essay that dives into the complex relationship between language, identity, and culture. Rodriguez's exploration of the dichotomy between public and private language sheds light on the transformative power of language and its influence on one's sense of self. My response to this essay is that language can be a massive factor in one's identity. This can best be supported by Rodriguez's reflection on the tension between his family's intimate, private language and the formal, public language he encounters in the school system. "Public and Private Language" by Richard Rodriguez is an insightful essay that explores the author's personal journey in reconciling his private identity as a Mexican-American with the public language of English. Rodriguez …show more content…
Growing up in a Spanish-speaking household, he reflects on the intimacy and warmth of his family's private language. However, as he entered school and adopted English, he experienced a sense of alienation from his heritage and his family. Rodriguez argues that the shift to English not only facilitated his academic success but also widened the gap between him and his loved ones. Through introspection, he acknowledges the sacrifices and trade-offs involved in embracing the public language. Rodriguez's essay poignantly highlights the complex relationship between language, culture, and personal identity, prompting readers to reflect on their own experiences of linguistic assimilation and the resulting transformations. Richard Rodriguez's essay, offers a thought-provoking exploration of the
Mr. Rodriguez quit his job at the People’s Tribune at the age of 39 to dedicate his life to writing and promoting his books. All of Luis Rodriguez’ books have the same overall theme, morality and reality. He wants his writing to portray his own imagination and truths that he grew up around. He traveled all over the world as a known author and poet in Rome, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Holland, Austria, Germany, Nicaragua, and
Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez are Latino authors of “The New Bathroom Policy at English High School” and “Hunger of Memory” which touch on the topic of language-limiting policies and ideas in the United States. Language is something everyone in existence uses to communicate with. Yet, not all languages are the same. Many have difficulty understanding language when it differs from one’s own. Language can be a barrier between people from other places.
Rodriguez’s viewpoint in “Aria” and Thiong’o’s ideas are similar in a way that they both agree with the fact that having non-native English speaker to learn English by abandoning their mother language will hinder their close relationship with their culture and family. However, Rodriguez believes that the most effective way for immigrants to learn English is to totally leave their mother language behind because this allows the immigrants to learn English in the fastest way, and the immigrants will have the confidence to fit into the American society when their English is fluent. However, Thiong’o sees more cons than pros regard to the idea of letting non-native speaker to learn a second language in a forceful and extreme way. First, he states
Throughout his text, he explains that he felt uncomfortable at school knowing he would have to speak this language that didn't connect to his identity. A significant quote from his text is “At last, seven years old, I came to believe what had been technically true since my birth; I was an American citizen (Rodriguez 120-122).” This quote means that after having to learn English and somewhat feeling secure with it, he imagined the truth of being American. Another important selection that stands out to me is “But the special feeling of closeness at home was diminished by then (Rodriguez 123-125).” The reason why this quote is so important is given the fact once he felt further comfortable with English, he lost that connection with his family through Spanish.
Even if the Mexican students assimilated through the Americanization classes, like the student Roberto, they were academically profiled as deficient and non-white and casted away to the “New School” based on their race and not on their academic fall backs. Borrowing the words from Ofelia Garcia, “The Spanish language (and bilingualism) in the United States have become markers of being nonwhite, of being out of place, thus minoritizing the position of U.S. Latinos and excluding them” (Garcia, 2009). Anglos in this community were creating a visible divide by using Spanish language as a marker of “otherness” and framing racial stereotypes to this linguistic
Rodriguez uses the public vs private analogy multiple times in his essay. Spanish being the private language meaning that fewer people speak and know it, and that because it is private, people who speak it are at a disadvantage. He says, “What I needed to learn in school was that I had the right- and the obligation- to speak the public language of los gringos. ”(6-8) In the first grade, Rodruguez had to alter his personal life and individuality because English had to no
Richard Rodriguez’s autobiography, Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, depicts his transformation from a socioeconomically disadvantaged first generation child of Mexican-American immigrants to a successful author, academic, and intellectual. During his metamorphosis, however, Rodriguez goes through an arduous process of assimilation that grants him a mastery of the English language and an embrace of American culture at the expense of his cultural heritage. His struggle to find a balance between these two worlds is prevalent throughout his autobiography, demonstrating the complex nature of identity and the manner in which language and culture impact it. In the text, identity seems to be formed at times around perceived similarities,
The power of language We all have some form of language limitations, no matter where we come from and what our background is. “Mother tongue” by Amy Tan and “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua both share similar themes in their stories that demonstrate how they both deal with how different forms of the same language are portrayed in society. In both stories they speak about what society declares the right way of speech and having to face prejudgment, the two authors share their personal experiences of how they’ve dealt with it.
Richard Rodriguez and Gloria Anzaldúa are two authors who both immigrated to America in the 1950s and received first hand experience of the assimilation process into American society. During this time, Rodriguez and Anzaldúa had struggled adjusting to the school system. Since understanding English was difficult, it made adjusting to the American school system increasingly difficult for Rodriguez. Whereas Anzaldúa, on the other hand, had trouble adjusting to America’s school system due to the fact that she didn’t wish to stop speaking Spanish even though she could speak English. Both Rodriguez and Anzaldúa had points in their growing educational lives where they had to remain silent since the people around them weren’t interested in hearing them speaking any other language than English.
These quotes show his experience transitioning into a bilingual speaker between Spanish and English in the US. Rodriguez remarks, "I easily noted the difference between classroom language and the language of home" (Rodriguez 21). In this example, Rodriguez was able to tell the difference between English, his "classroom language", and Spanish, his "language of home". It is important because, as a person of bilingualism, it is a difficult struggle to separate two languages at school, and most times it can mess with a person's perspective on their identity. But this quote shows his experience slowly transitioning into a bilingual speaker as well as it becoming a part of his identity.
Language plays a vital role in a person’s sense of identity and connection; despite that, however, many face issues of discrimination of language throughout the United States for speaking another language. Former lawyer-turned-poet Martin Espada addresses these issues in his essay “The New Bathroom Policy at English High School,” through the use of anecdotes and his work, Espada continues to fight and serve as a voice for Latinos across America. Espada states how language isn’t a means of communication, but instead integral to an individual’s identity and culture, he recounts the story of attending a protest for a bill to make English the official language of Massachusetts, during the demonstration, a state legislator threatens to rip his tongue out for speaking Spanish, later, when Espada goes up and conveys to the crowd, he calls out to the audience that even if his tongue gets ripped, it won’t stop him from speaking Spanish with his heart, “He can rip out my tongue if he wants. But it won’t work, porque yo hablo español con el corazón,” (97-99). Espada conveys to the audience that Spanish epitomizes a person’s identity and pride.
He shows this through his many experiences with bilingual court and education. At the end of his essay, Espada concludes with a basic summary of what he has learned. Espada claims “The repression of Spanish is part of a larger attempt to silence Latinos, and, like the crazy uncle at the family dinner table yelling about independence or socialism, we must refuse to be silenced.” Through the summary the reader understands despite English being the prevalent language the in the U.S. today the Spanish culture is still being preserved through bilingualism. On the other hand Rodriguez argues that in order to gain a public identity, one must be willing to sacrifice some part of their own cultural identity.
To seek out change, you must believe that you deserve to be heard. To believe that you deserve to be heard, you must value your existence. Therefore, language allows Baca the space to present himself as a human being outside of the dehumanizing number which he is allotted, language acting as “a resource that allow[s him] to confront and understand [his] past [… and open] the way toward a future that [is] based[,] not on fear or bitterness or apathy[,] but on compassionate involvement and a belief that [he] belong[s]” (5). During his incarceration, “reading books became [Baca’s] line of defense against the madness,” the monotony, and the isolation which prisons often use to stifle their populations (214). However, when recognizing Baca’s growing self-esteem, it is important to acknowledge that his personal development is invariably tied to his identity as a Mexican-American.
"Hunger of Memory" by Richard Rodriguez is a controversial publication that is likely to bring about an intense debate especially among US Latinos. Rodriguez exposes the vital social and political issues with significant reference to his life through this esthetically exquisite book. The experiences relate to an event in the past when he was compelled to change the language he speaks from Spanish to English when he commenced his schooling life. It also exposes how he clashed with affirmative action agendas. The book is more of an autobiography that narrates Richard Rodriguez's upcoming in America.