The Perspectives of a Mexican-American in the Chapter Mr. Secrets from Richard Rodriguez's Hunger of Memory

Categories: Literature

Mr. Secrets Timed Write In this excerpt from the chapter “Mr. Secrets,” from his collection of reflective essays entitled Hunger of Memory, Richard Rodriguez present the perspective of a Mexican-American who is the first of his family to gain a college education to those who do not fully understand the drastic effects of education upon familial relationships in minority households. Through his narrative structure and tone, Rodriguez reveals that his relationship to his family and his attitude toward them is quite dynamic: toward his mother, he feels close, concerned, and loving; towards his father, he feels distanced.

Rodriguez clearly is more attached to his mother than his father. By structuring this excerpt with a bulk of quotes and action done by his mother, and only mentioning his father in passing until the final paragraph, he demonstrates his attitude towards his mother and his more ignorant, passive attitude towards his father. Rodriguez recalls his mother’s prediction that her children would “all grow up to be very rich…,: he notes how her feet (not his father’s, however) are “wreathed with gifts,” and he also is blatantly concerned that she “seems sad.

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” His concern for his father is minimal, if not nonexistent, suggesting that the rift between his working-class parents and himself runs deeper between him and his father than him and his mother.

Althoug this excerpt is written in the present tense, its tone is still very reflective. There is a slow, gradual shift in tone throughout the excerpt, although it is reflective as a whole.

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From the admiring, thankful, proud tone of “my mother is not surprised that her children are well-off,” Rodriguez’s tone becomes more morose as “someone gets up to leave, prompting others to leave.” Finally, left alone with only his mother and father at their home, he takes a coat outside to his father, leaving him alone with him. Rodriguez’s tone completes its shift here, his mother no longer present, to a tone of sadness and regret. When Rodriguez realizes that he has ignored his father for most of the evening, realizes that “are you going home?” is the only thing his father has asked him all night, his tone betrays his sense of regret at not having a better relationship with his father, his sadness at this being the result of his education, and his guilt at so enjoying the fruits of this education.

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The Perspectives of a Mexican-American in the Chapter Mr. Secrets from Richard Rodriguez's Hunger of Memory. (2022, Apr 12). Retrieved from

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