from “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” by Richard Rodriguez
Directions: Read the first section titled, “Aria” then answer the following questions.
1. What is an aria? (Check all definitions – not just the first one – & use the one that applies to this essay.)
a. Why do you think Rodriguez chose it for his title?
b. Is it an appropriate title?
c. Is it effective?
2. Explain how Rodriguez establishes his ethos in the opening four paragraphs.
3. One way to read Richard Rodriguez’s essay is as a discussion of two discrete education philosophies. What are they?
4. According to Rodriguez, how can language define community – both negatively and positively?
5. What does Rodriguez mean when he says, “[I]n a way, it didn’t matter very much that my parents could not speak English with ease… And yet, in another way, it mattered very much.” (paragraph 15)
6. What does Rodriguez mean by calling Spanish a “private language” (paragraph 17)?
a. Even if you do not speak more than one language, does your family have what you would characterize as a “private language”? Explain
7. Rodriguez admits, “Matching the silence I started hearing in public what was a new quiet at home (paragraph 38). Later he says, “The silence at home, however, was finally more than a literal silence” (paragraph 41). Does he convince you that this change in family relationships is worthwhile...