Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez


Richard Rodriguez (1944-). Born in San Francisco and raised in Sacramento, Rodriguez earned a B.A. at Stanford University, a masters degree at Columbia University, and did graduate study at U.C. Berkeley and the Warburg Institute in London. He has received numerous awards, including a Fulbright fellowship, 1972-73. Rodriguez received recognition and attention for his autobiography Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982), which "details Rodriguez's journey through the American educational system and his resultant loss of ethnicity". He is painfully aware of what is gained and lost when we gain and lose languages. His second book Days of Obligation (1992) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize He writes for major American magazine and journals and appears on "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS.


What is a “public” language?  Why was it incorrect for Rodriguez to imagine (35-36) that English was intrinsically public, while Spanish was intrinsically private?

What was the incident (36) that eventually lead him to begin to speak in English?  Was this a cruel act?  Why or why not?

Once he started becoming more adept in using English as a public language, what happened to Rodriguez’ “private” (37-38) life?

What do you think of Rodriguez’ points (39) about “bilingual education”?