Assimilating in a Dominant Ideological Society
In Hunger of Memory, Richard Rodriguez demonstrates how dichotomies such as whiteness/blackness, private life/public life, distinction of classes, as well as religion, family intimacies, and education have shaped him into the participating individual he has become in the dominant culture. His personal history in a Mexican home speaking his native language displays the loss he endured in order to gain academic success and public identity. His search for identity is empowered through his spiritual, intimate family relationships, and education. Through education, it became inevitable to assimilate into the public dominant culture he was in, simultaneously, losing the bond of his childhood private heritage. His life experiences and self-determination assisted him to strive for academic success. “Education altered my life.” “I remember what was so grievously lost to define what was necessarily gained.” Through his education he gains public acceptance, but at the same time mourns for the traditions and language of his heritage.
Religion – Catholicism - Christianity
-Is religion a dominant ideology in this text? If so how?
-How is the concept of faith embodied in or absent from this text?
-Does the text present alternative forms of religion, spirituality?
-Does the text present any material consequences for those who may not subscribe to Christian ideology?
-Is whiteness a dominant ideology in this text? If so, how?
-How does the text resist or reinscribe the dominant ideology of whiteness?
-How do issues of ethnicity/nationality complicate notions of whiteness or “otherness” in the text?
-Does the text present any material consequences for those who are not “white” in the text?
-How does social class work in this text? What role does social class play in the lives of the characters in this text?
-To what extent does academic experience shape individuals?
-How do you feel about bilingual education? (Students learning content in native language.) Does it enforce oppression?
-How do you feel about combining private life (religion, native language) with public life (education, community)?
-How can individuals assimilate in a dominant culture without losing their native heritage? Is it inevitable to conform to a dominant society?