The Achievement of Desire

Essay by tuyetkatieCollege, Undergraduate September 2006

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1. What do you think Rodriquez is saying now that you have read his entire essay?

2. How does reading the last part of the essay complicate or expand on what you read in the first part?

3. Can you relate to what Rodriquez has said in his essay? How exactly? Be specific.

4. Why does Rodriguez refer to Richard Hoggart's story?

5. Does Rodriguez believe that a good balance can be maintained between home life and a successful educational life?

6. How does Rodriguez feel about his parents, and the role they have played in his life?

In his essay "The Achievement of Desire," Richard Rodriguez writes about his experiences as a student. While writing about his education Rodriguez makes several points out of an abstract personality model. Originally conceived by the author Richard Hoggart, Rodriguez identifies with "the scholarship boy" and in detail relates his experiences to the model.

As defined by Hoggart in "The Uses of Literacy," the "scholarship boy" is a student who even with a disadvantaged family, manages to develop academically, and achieve outstanding academic success and characteristic.

In "The Achievement of Desire," Rodriguez makes important observations of himself and of his earlier life, likening himself to Hoggart's supposed scholarship boy in most respects. In fact, Rodriguez's past experiences match with Hoggart's description. Hoggart writes that, "The boy spends a large part of his time at the physical center of the home, where the woman's spirit rules." This is the case with Rodriguez as well, especially in regards to his relationships with his family, and his mother. He even credits his mother as the one responsible for driving him forward into his future, wanting a better life for her children; according to Hoggart, "The boy has to cut himself off mentally, so as...