Humanitarian / Literature Essay


Richard Rodriguez "The Achievement of Desire" Analysis

Richard Rodriguez who is today a successful author published "The Achievement of Desire" in 1982, the analysis of which is to be made. The importance of the book to the cultural and racial society of America in the late 20th century is significant as it explored a Mexican-American societal consciousness laden with successful and belonging expectations.

It should be added that Richard Rodriguez was born into a family in Mexico, became an immigrant to Columbia in America at a young age. Throughout the book, the consciousness of the public pervaded the author’s mind and action that he forbade his connection with his family, personal relationships and his roots.

By doing this, Rodriguez slowly tilted to the bookish boy whose only purpose has been discovered as studying. The book is a memoir and an intellectual autobiography. Meaning that it is a true experience of a Mexican who grew up in American society.

At the beginning of the essay, we witness the migration from his Mexican town where the Spanish language was sweet to listen to. With the migration, however, he found himself in a society of heavily demanding culture.

This made his essay heavy with his self-awareness and consciousness with regard to a book which became a portrait of his life. A portrait which he lived to believe in post-graduation. This portrait was formed in a book titled The Uses of Literacy, written by Richard Hoggart.

Rodriguez channeled his efforts into studying, hence, adopting American life as a means to shut isolation. While doing this, he slowly lost connection with his family. At a point in the book, he proudly declared the news that his teacher said he was losing the Spanish accent. As this sounded as a breakthrough to him, it was otherwise to his parents.

Deciphering his parents’ cold response, he believed that their lack of education like his made them react that way. In the book, we read where the nuns visited his parents, and they encouraged them to speak the English language to him at home. This was because he was shy while speaking the language in school. At this, very little conversation ensued between himself and his parents who were not so fluent in the language too.

At a point in his life, Rodriguez conceived the indifference in his home as a means of holding him down. A conscious attempt by his parents to separate him from the public American culture. This was responsible for why he was critical about the people agitating for a bilingual academic and educational method in America.

However, as he tilted away from home and his parents, he found his teachers occupying those vacuums as they became his big role models. He was attracted by their well-educated status and believed that they dominate society. He aspired this and resolved that he has to read a lot of books to maintain such a standard. Teaching himself about this new and strange culture, he had the books and education to direct his path.

He cannot afford to live a contrary life as his parents.

In the book, we saw the emphasis placed on “the scholarship boy”. This term was used in Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy. He defined it to mean a form of aloneness that applies to studious persons. He believed that he has to be alone to “get on” the way it’s expected. And this is without a social life.

Being the scholarship boy, he confessed that he kept so much to himself that he reached a point in his life that his feelings and emotions became very complicated because he couldn’t share it with anyone.

At this, he documented the vast episodes of sadness in his autobiographical memoir. His sadness is borne out of the acknowledgment of the fact that he feels he has suffered notoriously from his disconnection to his root which has bought, conceived and nurtured his goal and single-minded educationally successful life.

He, however, at the end of the book, expressed the loss that comes from all he indulged in during his adolescent period. He had read over a hundred books yet understood none before graduation.

For most of the book, he tilted towards public life, including the Catholic Church while ignoring his personal life. It should be understood that reading Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy, the term the scholarship boy gave him a kind of significance that he isn’t alone as a dedicated scholarship boy. He does recognize his feeling of superiority to his family is a loss. He eventually realized the disconnection, and he sought a connection from all his isolation due to his educational pursuit.

Richard Rodriguez informs our intellectual sense with the 3 phases of his book under analysis, The Achievement of Desire; phases which include the childhood stage after migration, the graduate stage when he got to read Hoggart’s book, and the adult phase when he had completed his education and realized the isolation he has existed in so far.

However, with all his exposure to books, because he is so full of education and not because of the pleasure and knowledge derived from reading, he admits that his reading and learning was from “a book so enjoyable to read {but} can’t be very important.”

After knowing the experience of scholarship boys like himself, he realizes his alienation from people, traditions, and parents and fashion that it could have been greater happiness if he had made a balance between his educational life and his relationships.

He warns about this and eventually learned to accept his parents, customs and traditions as much as he accepts America’s, his past life and his new life. This cautionary and didactic tale warns about striking a balance in one's ambition and the relationship with other important forms of our existence.

Although Richard Rodriguez wrote the book under analysis, The Achievement of Desire after he had achieved what he wanted to achieve, he regards the times he has lost. His book explored his life from the narrative of childhood and migration; his graduation as a scholarship boy; and the point at which he has reached the “end of education.”

Fashioning navigation by himself, he adopted the American culture and forbade his native custom. He was obsessed with education and the upper-class status which made him frustrated at his parents who still think like the lower class persons. This was when he wrote as a scholarship boy.

Richard Rodriguez does feel remorse at detaching his family and roots from his academic growth and desire, he accepts everything and warns against isolation due to personal ambition.

The book is a clear picture of race, education or ambition and belongingRichard Rodriguez  , the dilemma which exists between private life and public life as well as private and public identities.

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