The Achievement of Desire, by Richard Rodriguez and Learning to Read, by Malcolm X
988 Words4 Pages
Richard Rodriguez, the author of The Achievement of Desire, and Malcolm X, the author of Learning to Read, describe the ways their lives were profoundly impacted, as well as altered, because of their quest for an education. Rodriguez writes about his academic successes, while Malcolm X describes his education as self-taught. Achieving an education changed both men and both men pursued an education for different reasons. In his writing The Achievement of Desire, Richard Rodriguez describes his pursuit of academic achievement as a way to distance himself from his family as well as his cultural roots: “… A primary reason for my success in the classroom was that I couldn’t forget that school was changing me and separating me from the life…show more content…
His vocabulary and the ability to express himself, especially through his letters to Mr. Elijah Muhammad, were lacking, as he desired the ability to express himself in an educated manner as opposed to using familiar street slang, which he was accustomed to using. He saw educated prisoners achieve a certain celebrity status and desired these skills as well as status. Malcolm X describes these inmates and the status they possessed: “There were a sizeable number of well-read inmates, especially the popular debaters. Some were said by many to be walking encyclopedias. They were almost celebrities” (212). He envied these educated men and became determined to grow to be educated. In pursuing his self-taught education, “Malcolm X emerged as the leading spokesman for black separatism, a philosophy that urged black Americans to cut political, social, and economic ties with the white community” (intro 210). Not seeking the prestige or degree for his education, his efforts made him a leading advocate for the civil rights and liberties of African Americans and a leading spokesperson for the Nation of Islam. Although both Richard Rodriguez and Malcolm X’s lives were profoundly impacted by becoming educated, how they acquired their education and the consequences of becoming educated were different for each author. The path that Richard Rodriguez took in his quest
Richard Rodriguez-“The Achievement of Desire”
This is the story of a man who found himself through education. His whole life he was eager to read books and learn more and more. He was the kid in class who always raised his hand, and would always be caught reading a book at home all by himself. He came from a middle class Mexican family that had struggled to make it to where they were in the social structure. His parents were somewhat educated, but worked hard to make a living. His siblings were also smart, but Richard always felt like he was by himself. He had great parents but hints that there was never that special bond between them, that his family and school were two different worlds he had to learn to live with. He states “But withheld from my mother and father was any mention of what most mattered to me: the extraordinary experience of first learning,” (p. 623) and he shows how he would not just open up to his parents when they asked what was new. He would just reply with the “same old stuff” answer. His education had culturally seperated him from his parents, the same education that has made him realize this fact and speak out about it.
I did not really like this piece. I felt that Rodriguez was sort of putting his family down. Sure it was not his fault that he had a hard time relating to his parents, but I dont think he tried hard enough to do so. They were not bad parents and pushed for him to be successful. He was sort of spoiled by not giving due credit to his parents and not trying to understand where they were coming from. If not for them, he wouldn’t have even received the education that divided them.