Sunday, February 14, 2016

Aria: by Richard Rodriguez


Richard Rodriguez's essay "Aria" accounts a time when he was a child going to school in America.  Rodriguez and his family were immigrants from Mexico and their primary language was in fact, Spanish when they arrived. 
The main point that Rodriguez is addressing is the issue of bilingual education and how it is impossible for a foreign student to use their native language in which he describes as a "private language, with English in the school setting and public life.  Rodriguez argues that language barriers existed when he was in school as a child and did not feel part of public society or as an American citizen until he learned the English language.  Rodriguez compared the language of home versus the language of society as private and public languages.  He made this comparison to show that using ones foreign language in a society where English dominates, one would not be successful which was depicted in his struggles in school before learning English.  Rodriguez as a child in his early years could only speak Spanish felt alienated by society and felt that he had the right and was obligated to learn English.  Rodriguez's desire and satisfaction of learning the English language was not more evident than when he stated "at last, seven years old, I came to believe what had been technically true since my birth: I was an American citizen."  After learning the English language Rodriguez had the belief of calming assurance that he belonged in society.  Rodriguez supported his own idea that becoming assimilated into public society doesn't not contribute to ones loss of individuality, but is in fact a step or gain towards the achievement of "public individuality."  Rodriguez argues the fact that English was needed "to seek the rights and opportunities necessary for full public individuality." 
Connection:  This essay written by Richard Rodriguez clearly connects to Delpit and the culture of power because of how being told explicitly "the rules and codes of power" one is able to be assimilated into society.  A similar interpretation is of how the Delpit piece direct speaks about educating other peoples children and teaching them the "American way of society" which is present in this piece where the teachers of Richard Rodriguez enforce the parents of him to start speaking English and becoming accustomed to how and when something should be said.
Point to Discuss/ Share:  The views on bilingual Education and the creation of new Schools for foreign students.  Should foreign students learn English when coming to America?  I believe so, just as we would have to learn a "foreign" language going to another country.


  1. I thought the use of an argument for this text was perfect because it helped with describing the points of the barriers of language much better. Often the use of different languages presents challenges but solutions to overcome them are available. I agree with your points to discuss because without knowledge of the local language it just creates difficulties that can be avoided.

  2. You did a great job with explaining the authors main point of the story. I agree with your statement at the end that people coming to America should learn english. However, I also think that our school systems should prepare students with the basics of different languages just in case they are opposed with a language barrier.

  3. I liked how you connected Rodriguez's points to Delpit and explained his main idea clearly. I agree with you that it is important for immigrants coming into America to learn how to speak English, but I also agree with Kate's point. I think multilingual Americans should be able to speak the English language, but they should also not have to abandon their native tongue or tongue(s). Why can't America integrate multilingual children into school curriculums to improve the concept of grasping a foreign language at an early age? When you think about it, we are one of the only countries that does not stress foreign language education. Across the continents of Europe and Asia, many children are educated to speak multiple different languages. Some of these languages include English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, and more.