Hunger of Memory Questions and Answers
by Richard Rodriguez

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In the essay "Aria" from his book Hunger of Memory, how does Richard Rodriguez refute arguments favoring bilingual education?

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Richard Rodriguez states right out in his essay that he is against bilingual education, “I hear them and am forced to say no: It is not possible for a child—any child—ever to use his family’s language in school.” While his opinion seems controversial, he moves through the rest of the essay to lay out for the reader the specific reasons he doesn’t think bilingual education will work.

If we look at the essay we can see that his argument comes from his lived experience as a child. Navigating the complex social systems that are established by language, race, and social class leads the author to explain that he doesn’t think that any students who would be a “bilingual learners” would benefit from such a program because they already participate in their discourse. He explains that “What they seem not to recognize is that, as a socially disadvantaged child, I considered Spanish to be a private language” (Rodriguez). He goes into depth about the fact that it isn’t what is...

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