The Achievement of Desire

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By shahadaldossary
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In "The Achievement of Desire," an autobiographical essay, Richard Rodriguez reflects on his life as a young boy as he suffered to balance life in the academic world and the life of a working class family. Through out his essay, he identifies as a “scholarship boy”, someone who pushes his family and friends away all for the sake of “knowledge”, a definition he found in a book he came across called The Uses of Literacy by Richard Hoggart. Rodriguez explains that in order for him to achieve success, it was necessary to disconnect himself from the life he knew before education. Even though leaving home and branching out towards new ways of thinking are considered key elements in education, it does not necessarily mean that we have to alienate ourselves in the process to become successful.
Rodriguez is present in three different forms in his essay, the child, the graduate student who first comes across The Uses of Literacy, and the adult who has “completed his path” in education. The first section in his essay focuses on his life and the difficulties he faced growing up in a bilingual environment. We notice how he associates academic success with alienation from a very young age; as he mentions in his essay “He takes his first step toward academic success, away from his family” (Rodriguez, pg. 4). Rodriguez also focuses on his parents a lot and elaborates how they helped shape the person he is today, and not strictly in a positive way. In the begging of his essay, Rodriguez mentions how he wasn’t prepared for the change that he encountered in the classroom, how he was still mad at his parents for encouraging him towards classroom English, but as time went buy this anger was replaced by guilt. Rodriguez went from being the boy who could barely speak English to the talkative student whose hand was raised in every classroom; he was proud that he lost all traces of his…...

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