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

Creatively employing the chronology of his own life, Richard Rodriguez's "Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood" is an effective essay that makes the argument for a people to be understood through their own language.

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Richard Rodriguez's essay , "Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood," is not structured strictly chronologically, but, instead, Rodriguez is careful to allow memory juxtaposed with commentary to provide an organizational structure that offers an emotional and coming-to-consciousness trajectory of one of his most controversial subjects, namely his staunch...

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Richard Rodriguez's essay, "Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood," is not structured strictly chronologically, but, instead, Rodriguez is careful to allow memory juxtaposed with commentary to provide an organizational structure that offers an emotional and coming-to-consciousness trajectory of one of his most controversial subjects, namely his staunch opposition to such programs as bilingual education and affirmative action.

The necessity of one's private, and therefore limited, language being superseded by the widely accessible and readily acceptable public language of the majority culture is a belief born from Rodriguez's personal experiences as the son of Spanish speaking Mexican immigrants living in the United States. Because his belief exists in direct contradiction to the aforementioned programs' ameliorative intentions, Rodriguez's use of personal experience, detailed through specific and at times heartbreaking memories, imbues him with an ethos and a sensitivity that may somewhat mitigate pushback to his argument.

The essay's chronological structure is evident from the outset. An emotional memory montage of Rodriguez's linguistic impressions and beliefs leads the reader into the narrative, allowing us to follow the trajectory of his thinking. We arrive, perhaps with a greater understanding, to one conclusion, the acceptance of which is potentially tempered by its inherent difficulties:

Without question, it would have pleased me to have heard my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid. I would have imagined that my instructors were somehow "related" to me; I would indeed have heard their Spanish as my family's language. I would have trusted them and responded with ease. But I would have delayed—postponed for how long?—having to learn the language of public society. I would have evaded—and for how long?—learning the great lesson of school: that I had a public identity.

Memory and the subsequent understanding of its meaning provide a narrative structure that gives coherence to Rodriguez's story and continuity to his primary argument.

This continuity, the impact of which achieves greater significance from the vantage point of hindsight, is further illustrated through additional childhood memories, such as this one:

There were many times like the night at a brightly lit gasoline station (a blaring white memory) when I stood uneasily hearing my father talk to a teenage attendant. I do not recall what they were saying, but I cannot forget the sounds my father made as he spoke. At one point his words slid together to form one long word—sounds as confused as the threads of blue and green oil in the puddle next to my shoes. His voice rushed through what he had left to say. Toward the end, he reached falsetto notes, appealing to his listener's understanding. I looked away at lights of passing automobiles. I tried not to hear anymore. But I heard only too well the attendant's reply, his calm, easy tones. Shortly afterward, headed for home, I shivered when my father put his hand on my shoulder. The very first chance that I got, I evaded his grasp and ran on ahead into the dark, skipping with feigned boyish exuberance.

Eschewing public language's primacy in the culture in which one lives creates, for Richard Rodriguez, many and varied disadvantages. Even as a young boy, he understands languages' connection to perception and power. Rodriguez shares in his essay, "Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood," the trajectory of that understanding, not through a sequential chronology but through a chronology informed by his own emerging consciousness.

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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.

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