Hunger Of Memory Essay, Research Paper
Summary of The Achievement of Desire
Chapter Two, Hunger of Memory
Richard Rodriguez, writes Hunger of Memory as an autobiographical essay to display the life he lived and the importance of education. In chapter two, The Achievement of Desire, Rodriguez tells us education is a long, unglamorous, even demeaning process . This bold statement leads us to believe that education can be harmful to some people. Rodriguez introduces the scholarship boy by saying, The scholarship boy must move between environments, his home and the classroom, which are at cultural extremes, opposed . He is enormously obedient to the dictates of the world of school, but emotionally still strongly wants to continue as a part of the family circle . With time the boy begins to lose the balance of keeping both school life and home life at the same level of priority. The school life begins to take control of his life. Rodriguez states, Gradually, necessarily, the balance is lost. The boy needs to spend more and more time studying, each night enclosing himself in the silence permitted and required by intense concentration . The fact the student must allow more time towards his schooling causes his home life to be less important, carrying him further away from his loved ones. As the scholarship boy becomes more educated in the outside world, he realizes that the outside world is unfamiliar to the family. This, in turn, causes the scholarship boy to become embarrassed with the level of knowledge his family has. Rodriguez states, I was embarrassed by their lack of education . Rodriguez shows the consequences of education. For the scholarship boy, education not only tears the student away from his family, but also does not allow him to mature into a person with his own opinions and thoughts.
The scholarship boy works arduous to achieve academic excellence. He turns into a machine that takes information in and spits it back out. When he is older and thus when so little of the person he was survives, the scholarship boy makes only too apparent his profound lack of self-confidence . The student utilizes memorizing and repeating, he does not form his own thoughts and ideas on the topic at hand. This affects the child s adulthood because he will be so dependent on others. He has no confidence in the real world. Hoggart supports Rodriguez by saying:
[The scholarship boy] tends to over-stress the
importance of examinations, of piling-up knowledge and
of received opinions. He discovers a technique of
apparent learning, of the acquiring of facts rather than
the handling and use of facts. He learns how to receive a
purely literate education, one using only a small part of
the personality and challenging only a limited are of his
This goes to show, in Rodriguez s words, that the student is a great mimic and the very last person in class who ever feels obliged to have an opinion of his own. Rodriguez furthers his point by adding, a scholarship boy- if he did not accurately perceive that the best synonym for primary education is imitation . He drives his opinion on education in order to get the point across. He demonstrates another rigid side of education. Becoming your own person is an immense part of life, and education takes that away from the scholarship boy.
Education can be detrimental because it pulls the scholarship boy away from his past, his culture. The student spends more time with his books than he does with his family. He loses touch with his intimate side (interaction with family members) which cause him to somewhat forget where he comes from and the culture that raised him. He becomes so used to the way society operates, and so much of his time is used reading books, that he forgets about the other important things in life such as spending valuable time with his family, carrying on with his culture. He wants to go back to his roots, but education pulls him further away. Rodriguez expresses, Like me, Hoggart s imagined scholarship boy spends most of his years in the classroom afraid to long for his past . He is afraid to go back because he does not know what to expect anymore, he forgets how his culture used to operate, and therefore stays away from his past. He tries repeatedly to return to his roots, but it never seems to work. His journey was not without costs: his public identity was only achieved after a painful separation from his past, his family, and his culture. Rodriguez laments the separation of who he is and what he is to become.