Richard Rodriguez's Autobiography Hunger of Memory Essay

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Richard Rodriguez's Autobiography "Hunger of Memory"

There exists in the majority of people a schism between their public lives and their private lives. People should desire to have their public selves match their private selves as closely as possible. A rift between the two causes nothing but pain and suffering for everyone around those people and places a heavy burden on the spirit of the ones responsible. Trust and honesty are essential to our society and the truth should be complimentary, not earned. Richard Rodriguez, a writer and public speaker, expertly illustrates his own experience with this type of double life in his autobiography, Hunger of Memory.

In the last section of Hunger of Memory “Mr. Secrets”, Rodriguez paints
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They have now been included in that deceitful little game called human interaction. It does not have to be that way; the truth can set them free.

Rodriguez’s mother asks of him, “Why do you need to tell the gringos about how divided you feel from the family?” (Rodriguez 175). She doesn’t think it right that he so freely presents the family’s private life. Why does she feel some things should remain private? What is she afraid of? Perhaps a better question is: what is she ashamed of? Rodriguez’s mother obviously feels self-conscious about certain aspects of their family life or she would not be uncomfortable with sharing the details. This cultural withdrawal, as each family pulls away from their neighbors, is one of the leading causes of the modern exclusivist viewpoint that is becoming all too common. This isolationist attitude is one of the primary causes of today’s crime rate.

Rodriguez states that his “mother must use a high pitched tone of voice when she addresses people that are not relatives” (177). This demonstrates that strangers, even sons/daughters-in-law were never included in the same group as relatives. Imagine how trying that would be for a young fiancée that desperately wanted to feel like part of the family but never could? Later, Rodriguez’s mother asks what Psychiatry is. His answer involves Freud, analysis, and clinically trained listeners to which she replies, “You mean that people tell a psychiatrist about their personal lives?” (183). Would
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