Sometimes people take for granted the love and support that their family can give. “The Achievment of Desire” by Richard Rodriguez is an essay that many can relate to. While growing up in Texas , I saw first hand that there were many minorities that did not have the advantage of supportive parents. Although Rodriguez had supportive parents, their lack of education and his minority status differentiated him from many of his peers.
“Your parents must be very proud” (Rodriguez , The Ways of Reading, 563) was something he often heard, but left him even more confused.
Known as a “scholarship boy”, Rodriguez was always successful and considered a prized student. In the beginning, he was proud to let his parents know his achievments. However, as he grew older he became
discontented with his parent’s lack of education. While many students I’ve seen in my experience give up,
Rodriguez chose the world of education instead of his parent’s world. In turn, this left him confused and angry. “I intended to hurt my mother and father. I was still angry at them for having encouraged me toward
classroom English.” (Rodriguez, The Ways of Reading, 567).
Not only was Rodriguez feeling alienated at home, but it seemed to him that his peers wanted him to fail as
well. In his eyes, he thought others felt threatened by a minority succeeding. With a lack of self confidence
and parents that didn’t understand, it is a wonder that he even got as far as he did. However, what he lacked in self confidence, he made up in mimicking his teachers. By doing this, he considers himself a bad student. Yet imitation was one of the keys to his success. I do not believe that imitation will always work in being successful. Rodriguez does not give himself as much credit as he should. His intelligence took him just as far as his mocking abilities.
With everything against him, Rodriguez still pressed on and became exactly what he wanted to become.
At least he thought this in the beginning. After graduating college and spending time in England, Rodriguez began to realize that he was missing something that he had ignored and denied many years ago. This is where his nostalgia began. After spending many years lost in the academic world, Rodriguez began questioning his life and the life that he left behind. He also began to realize that things he was running away from is what he desperately needed. He finally came to the conclusion that his life of closeness with his parents is something not to be ashamed of. When he finally figured that out, his education had ended. I truly believe that Rodriguez’s key to happiness was to find a balance between his childhood home life, and the new life that he had decided to embark upon.
Bartholomae, Petrosky. “The Achievement of Desire”. The Ways of Reading, Richard Rodriguez 7th Edition (2005)