The Story of Richard Rodriguez Essay

1065 Words 5 Pages
Becoming an American requires adjustment to the English language and interacting with different people. In the essay “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood,” Richard Rodriguez illustrates the distinctions between individual and social identity as a Mexican immigrant. He explains individual identity through the process of considering himself as an American citizen. Rodriguez also acknowledges the necessity of assimilating into the American culture and the consequences that follow.
Rodriguez describes individual identity through the process of allowing himself to become a member of American society. As a child, Rodriguez did not consider himself an American, but he quickly realized he could not achieve individuality until he accepted
…show more content…
In addition, Rodriguez realizes that in order to adjust to a new society, he will need to find the necessary opportunities to become a member of the society. Moreover, he recognizes that he is an outsider since his social identity is an indication of social worth. Therefore, Rodriguez thinks of himself as worthless. Before Rodriguez conceives of himself as an American, he believes that everyone is the same in his gringo community and cannot find individual identity. Before Rodriguez considers himself as a member of American society, he is not secure with the English language.
Rodriguez acknowledges the necessity of assimilating into the American culture. He describes a day in school, when he volunteers to answer a question. In addition, Rodriguez is surprised by his loud voice as he speaks English, as well as the clarity of speech when the whole class understands him. Rodriguez writes, “That day I moved very far from being the disadvantaged child I had been only days earlier. Taken hold at last was the belief, the calming assurance, that I belonged in public” (281). Rodriguez thinks he does not belong in public because he cannot speak English well; therefore, he feels isolated from the children who speak English. After Rodriguez’s parents allow their children to communicate with each other in English, Rodriguez find himself confidently speaking English and feeling a sense of belonging. Furthermore, Rodriguez is

Related Documents