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Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez

       Richard Rodriguez was born in 1946. Rodriguez wrote the book Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, which is a collection of autobiographical essays. This is a story about a seven-year-old American boy, who found it very difficult to connect with society because he didn’t speak English. Rodriguez attended a Roman Catholic school. His first day of class was very uncomfortable for him because the majority of his classmates were children of doctors, business executives, and lawyers. Rodriguez and his family lived in a house, which was different from the other houses. They had a dog, and they were the only family on the block, who raised pigeons and chickens. Sometimes, neighbors were friendly and smiled at them. Richards’ parents were Mexican immigrants, both working class parents. They spoke very poor English; their accent distinguished them from the rest of the people in the area. In their house, everyone spoke Spanish. Richard learned his first English words when his parents talked with some strangers on the street. When Rodriguez was five years old, he knew enough English for his mother to trust him on errands to stores near the house. Rodriguez felt uncomfortable around people every time he was on the street. He felt strange when he listened to other people speak in English. When he got home, he felt happy because it was the only place where he could speak Spanish. One day, three nuns from his school came to his house to talk to his parents about Rodriguez’s behavior. The nuns asked the parents if they spoke English in their house because they could see that Rodriguez was very quiet and shy in class. They suggested that they should speak English, so Rodriguez would feel more comfortable in class. One day, Rodriguez raised his hand in class and answered a question in English. When he spoke, the whole class understood what he said, and from that moment, Rodriguez felt that he belonged in society.