In the essay Achievement of Desire, author Richard Rodriguez, explains the struggles
with the desire to learn. He believed that in order to receive a good education he had to be
separated from the culture he lived in and the people he loved. In doing so, Rodriquez lost sight
of the big picture and the true meaning behind education. Education is supposed teach you new
knowledge and give you a stable, balanced life. Rodriguez became so caught up in the fact that
“education was imitation”, but all that did was cause him to face many struggles throughout his
life (Rodriguez 67).
Rodriguez shows these struggles of becoming educated through the eyes of the
‘scholarship boy’. In the lines, “For although I was a very good student, I was also a very bad
student. I was a ‘scholarship boy’, a certain kind of scholarship boy. Always successful, I was
always unconfident. Exhilarated by my progress. Sad.” (Rodriguez 44). We can see that
Rodriguez not only thought he was a good student, but he felt as if he was too eager to learn.
This forced him to be disconnected from his home life and change the view he had of his family.
Rodriguez became ashamed that his mother and father were not educated and didn’t have the
desire to learn like he did. I believe this was one of the major flaws in Rodriguez’s education. He
put books and teachers over his loved ones.
Reading caused Rodriguez to change his mind set on what being sophisticated meant. He
thought he was just repeating things he had seen before and felt like he had no originality to his
own words. He also came to realize that being such a scholar came with loneliness. We can see
this when Rodriguez claims, “I seemed unable to dare a passionate statement. I felt drawn by
professionalism to the edge of sterility, capable of no more that pedantic, lifeless, unassailable.”
(Rodriguez 71). By the time Rodriguez realizes this there wasn’t much that he could do to fix it.
One of the major things that has shaped me as a reader was our accelerated reading
(A.R.) program in elementary school. The goal of this program was to challenge kids to read but
also motivate them at the same time. From first grade all the way through sixth grade we were
required to take a placement test to see what our reading and comprehension skills were at. The
results from this test were able to show the level of books you should be reading. Each book in
the library had a number in it, called an A.R. level. The easier the book the lower the level and
the levels went up as the books got harder. Not only did the books have levels in them, but they
also showed how many points the books were worth. The other thing that these placement test
showed was your A.R. goal and your A.R. range, which was basically the level of books you
were allowed to read. The A.R. goal was a great way to keep me motivated and wanting to read
more to achieve the goal that was set for me. If you were to meet your goal the class...