Richard Rodriguez's "Aria"

Essay by redhighheelsCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2006

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In Richard Rodriguez's "Aria: A Memoir of Bilingual Childhood" he discusses his views on bilingual education by sharing his own childhood experience. Simply put, the story is about how out of place Richard Rodriguez felt in school, not knowing the language of his peers. To make this transition easier on children some believe teaching in the native language of the child is the solution. Richard Rodriguez strongly disagrees with this method of education; he has seen first hand how much easier it is to adapt to a culture if you speak the language.

Rodriguez went to a school where all his classmates were white and came from wealthy households. This was not the most welcoming atmosphere being a non-English speaking Hispanic to come from a home of working-class Mexican immigrants. At home everyone spoke Spanish, so naturally his home was a sanctuary for him; being the only place that he could find refuge.

The teachers were not very sympathetic to Richard, they would call on him and ask questions to which he would respond with a mumble and they would get angry. Naturally this scared him and he refused to take orders from the nuns at school. Rodriguez felt like if he learned this public language it would ruin his family life. For months he continued to resist orders and the language of the public for fear of losing the bond in his household. Because of his slow progression the nuns at school came to Richard's house and communicated with the parents that their children would need to hear more English in the household in order for them actually take it in. So from then on only English was spoken in the home and he began to learn the language of the public. "But diminished by then was the...