Although the essay Aria is not strictly chronological, Rodriguez structures it with signals to chronology. How does he do this effectively?

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Richard Rodriguez structures his essay Aria through memories of his past (per the title: Aria: The Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood).

Rodriguez begins his essay in the following way:

I remember, to start with, that day in Sacramento, in a California nearly thirty years past.

As Rodriguez progresses through his recollections, he uses cues as to signal the reader as to a loose time-line of his childhood. His choice of words like "many years later," "memories teach me," and "in the early years of my childhood" to signal very specific times from his life.

While his time-line does not follow a specific structure, he allows a reader to follow him back and forth through his life.His retelling of incidents from his childhood are tied to how they affected his life then and now. Therefore, he is very successful at presenting two very distinct ideas: his life as a child and the impact his childhood has on him "today."

Therefore, while the time-line is broken, the way it is presented to the reader shows a certain then-and-now. Rodriguez, therefore, has created a time-line within a time-line. They overlap and add meaning to the specific events for both him and the reader.

Read the study guide:
Hunger of Memory

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