The Achievement Of Desire Essay

The Achievement Of Desire Term paper

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The Achievement of Desire As I was reading The Achievement of Desire , written by Richard Rodriguez, I felt a similarity between the scholarship boy and me. We both come from a minority family, belonged to a native community, and clearly, understand what our parents had went through to maintain a shelter and food for their children. That s why we strive hard through schooling to obtain more knowledge about our interests and other things, which may be helpful to us in public life. After reading The Achievement of Desire , clearly, I realize individuals who take on the values of academic culture will consequently experience alienation from their native communities. I strongly agree with Rodriguez that this separation is a necessary part of one s development, but I personally did not experience it as dramatically as he did. At an early age, Rodriguez was experiencing a separation from his parents. As a second grader, he was annoyed by the fact his parents were unable to help him with an arithmetic problem. In the classroom, he was an obedient student who was always anxious and eager to learn. He wanted the school trophies his brother and sisters had brought home. By the time he reached third grade, he became bookish, and his devotion to his studies caused him to become more alienated from his family. Not only that, his primary language soon became English, and his Spanish accent was gradually disappearing. At an early age, Rodriguez had turned himself into a very ambitious student. Unlike Rodriquez, I did not develop any feeling of separation until I attended high school. I think this is one reason why I did not become alienated from my parent as dramatically as Rodriguez and his parents. Another reason that affected me and not Rodriguez is that my parent and I shared the same primary language. At school I would speak English to my teachers and fellow students. At home, I would use the dialect, Cantonese, to communicate with my parent and siblings. In Rodriguez s life, English was his primary language. As he grew older and pursuing his academic success, Spanish became more meaningless. The language, like his parents, grew farther apart from him. One primary problem Rodriguez had with his parents was a language barrier. Due to this fact, he had caused himself to associate lesser with his parents. My language seems to make my conversation a lot more intimate with my family members. A third reason that really affected me and not Rodriguez is my own culture. It is part of my Chinese culture to respect my parent, teachers, and all others. It is part of my Chinese culture to have a kind heart and to do things morally. It is my culture that teaches me the importance of keeping one s own language and customs. For Rodriguez himself, he had lost his own native Mexican culture by making the choice of becoming a scholar and reaching for a life within an academic culture, making him alienated from his love ones. It is also my culture that tells me who I am and where I m from. I belonged to a Chinese culture and maintaining its value is what every Chinese person should do. I did not lose much intimacy from my native community because maintaining a close relationship within a family is part of the Chinese culture. If everyone, like Rodriguez, strive hard to join the academic culture and care less about his native culture, then America would not be a melting pot. Among these reasons, I think the primary reason that caused me not to lose too much intimacy with my parent is my childhood memories. When I was going to elementary school, I remember times when my mother would tell me fairy tales, and she would also teach me how to pronounce words like father, dog, cat, school, mother, and many more in Cantonese. Mainly because she realized maintaining the language is something that will keep the culture within me. She realizes losing the language is like losing the culture. As I grew older, my mother would constantly urge me to do well in school, to be a good kid, and warned me about bad people and bad influences. She told me it was not right to steal, fight with others, or to use foul languages on someone else. My mother was always there for me when I was young. Every time I needed something, she would buy it for me. I always talk in class when I was an elementary student, and it got to a point in which writing standards was not a solution. My teacher would give me a note asking my mother to come in for a parent conference. Every time my mother would go with me. As a grown-up now, I really cherish those moments. As one can see, Rodriguez and I have a very different childhood memory. As an elementary student, Rodriguez was comparing his parents to his teachers. He felt he had no common interest with his parents. There was a time he was furious at his mother for not reading a book she had asked for. Maybe if his mother would have read the book, they can share some intimate time together discussing about it. Rodriguez was more disappointed at his parents after learning from a fourth-grade companion that his parents would read to him every night. In his mind, he wanted the same intimacy his friend had shared with his parents. As this feeling of disappointment progressed he began to feel unproudly of his parents. Worst of all, he was embarrassed by their lack of education. At his grammar school ceremony, he did not want his parents to be talking to his teachers. Feeling ashamed of his father s bad English and accented words, he tried to move his father away from his teacher. As the intimacy slowly decreased within his family life, Rodriguez lead himself more closer to the world of his academic success. By the time he was a high school student he wanted to be like his teachers, to possess their knowledge, to assume their authority, and their confidence. His ambition strengthened when he learned that education could make him an educated man. He understood clearly what education could do. For his mother, education meant opportunity for job advancement. His mother did not have the skill she needed to maintain her new position. For his father, education is an opportunity to escape from a life of mere labor. His father had suffered through warehouse, cannery, and factory jobs. Rodriguez was the first person to leave home to attend college. Through years of schooling, hard work, and separation from his home life, he is now a lecturer, educational consultant, and freelance writer. Rodriguez s experience made me realized that I had also become alienated from my old family life. Ever since I started high school, I began noticing these changes in my life. I began to comb my hair differently and dress differently. I wanted more than I can afford. Only name brand, expensive products are suited for me. I wanted to be more like the other kids in school, but my parent was not wealthy like theirs. I wanted to be able to speak English fluently, and to possess my American Dream. My American Dreams is to be able to maintain a high paying job, to have a happy family, to own nice car, and to buy a house in the future. My hope is depended heavily upon education, but my goal is not to become a scholar. For that, it will take too many years of schooling. It will affect my social life with my love ones because studying means isolation. While focusing on my school works, I found it very difficult to study under a shelter full of noises. I needed more time alone to think and to explore the world outside rather than the inside of my home. I needed to utilize my English skills to communicate with the public. In trying to accomplish my goal, I made myself isolated from everyone at home. During dinnertime, I would be trying to finish my homework. When relatives came over, I would tell my mother I needed to go to a friend s house to work on a report. On weekends, instead of going shopping with my mother, I either spent time in the library or I go out with my friends. I rather be alone or spend time with my friends than spending time with my family because we share different interests. I can relate my experience with my brother, Vee. After graduating from college, the family rarely sees him except during the night when he comes home for dinner. Although I have mentioned a lot about the separation I d experienced with my family, the intimacy always remains there. Even though my parent, siblings, and I spent lesser time together now, it does not mean we have lose the intimacy that was once given to us first as a family. One thing about Chines culture is that it taught me to keep a feeling of unity within myself. This feeling is similar to the trust, the bond a married couple would have. It is right to study, to spend more time alone if necessary, but it is unmoral for those who lose their language, custom, and disrespect the parents who gave life to them.

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