It mattered that education was changing me. It never ceased to matter. My brother and sisters would giggle at our mother s mispronounced words. They d correct her gently. My mother laughed girlishly one night, trying not to pronounce sheep as ship. From a distance I listened sullenly. From that distance, pretending not to notice on another occasion, I saw my father looking at the title pages of my library books. That was the scene on my mind when I walked home with a fourth-grade companion and heard him say that his parents read to him every night. (A strange sounding book-Winnie the Pooh.) Immediately, I wanted to know, what is it like? My companion, however, thought I wanted to know about the plot of the book. Another day, my mother surprised me by asking for a nice book to read. Something not too hard you think I might like. Carefully I chose one, Willa Cather s My Antonia. But when, several weeks later, I happened to see it next to her bed unread except for the first few pages, I was furious and suddenly wanted to cry. I grabbed up the book and took it back to my room and placed it in its place, alphabetically on my shelf. (p.626-627)
As seen in this paragraph of Richard Rodriguez s autobiographical essay Achievement of Desire , he looks back on his childhood remembering his family, friends, and himself. Although, he can only recall feeling anger and sadness at the fact that his parents were poorly educated. His feelings are first seen when he listens sullenly to his mother try and pronounce the word sheep correctly. It seems like he is angered at the not only his mother for not speaking correct English but also his siblings for not correcting her harshly. He adds beforehand that his brother and sister would giggle at her for pronouncing words wrong and that they would correct her gently.
Also Rodriguez feels emptiness, and sadness when his friend informs him that his parents read Winnie the Pooh to him every night and young Richard wants to know what it is like (being read to). What made him feel this emptiness or sadness was when his friend mistook his question and told him the plot of the book instead. My companion, however, thought I wanted to know about the plot of the book. He wants to know what it is like to have educated parents that can read to him but that is not possible.
In another part of this paragraph Rodriquez remembers when his mother asked him for a nice book to read. She said Something not too hard you think I might like. When he gives her a book, weeks later it is found unread lying next to her bed. It makes him furious that his mother would not or could not read this book to the point were he actually wanted to cry. This and the fact that he placed the book in it s place alphabetically on my shelf, shows us what kind of love or even obsession he has with his book. It seems as though Rodriquez felt hurt by the fact that someone did not take the chance to read.
Looking even closer at this section one can notice how young Richard isolates himself from his family. This is seen when his mother tries to pronounce a word, From a distance I listened sullenly. Or pretending not to notice on another occasion, he watches his father look at his library books. He does not want to get involved with the family because it almost seems like they are not smart enough for him. When his my mother surprised me by asking for a nice book to read, he is only surprised at the fact that she actually wants to read. Again many of his feeling are brought out in this paragraph through such words as furious, sullenly, and cry. These examples can all lead to one conclusion which Rodriguez even admits when saying It mattered that education was changing me. It never ceased to matter.