Essay about Family Values Richard Rodriguez Analysis

1270 Words Feb 15th, 2012 6 Pages
Bernardo Cabrera
Ken Carter
AP Language and Composition
30 January 2012
Family Values Because of the opposing cultures and ideas that collide in the mind of Richard Rodriguez, his arguments tend to break boundaries of traditional philosophical writing. As a Catholic, a homosexual, a Mexican immigrant, and an intellectual, the meaning of family values can differ significantly from one aspect of his life to the next. By gathering input from each of those sectors, Rodriguez composes an array of personal anecdotes and hypothetical examples in “Family Values,” to profess his theory that Americans’ supposed beliefs do not always align with reality. With the use of generalization and paradoxical exemplification, Rodriguez is able to portray
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Though generalization in nature excludes outliers and exceptions, it serves as a perfect method of exemplification in Rodriguez’s essay, as his argument involves not a specific situation or individual, but rather a national culture as a whole. Throughout the essay, Rodriguez states several themes of American society to support his idea that Americans have weak family values. The principle of departure from home is mentioned early in the essay. “The assurance of family–continuity, inevitably–is precisely what America encourages its children to overturn. Become your own man,” Rodriguez states (Rodriguez 310). Americans see dependence on family members as a terrible weakness. Therefore, committing an act like living with one’s parents during an economically difficult time, such as Rodriguez in fact committed, is frowned upon by society. Going away to study, and leaving one’s guardians is a sign of manhood and success. Ignoring the exceptions to this argument, such as the parents that persuade their children to study near home, or the children who come home with much enthusiasm, Rodriguez simply states what he thinks is dominant in American culture. He mentions particular examples that represent the weaknesses in American family life to make a generalization that allows his argument to appear much stronger. Later in the essay, he goes on to compare American values to those of the Chinese. A comment made by Rodriguez’s
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