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Richard Rodriguez Ap Essay Prompt

One of Rodriguez's main points is that no child uses his or her "family language" at school, even if the child speaks English at home, as children speak the language of intimacy at home. To the author, Spanish was the language that made him feel recognized and embraced as a member of the family. His next point, however, is that by having such a strong private language, he felt alienated and separated from much of the rest of the world. If he had not learned English in school, he would not have claimed his public identity. In order to gain his public identity and his place as an individual in society, he had to relinquish some of the individuality he had at home. His final point is that by gaining a sense of comfort in public, he lost the intimacy that he had at home when speaking Spanish. However, he felt that to become an individual in American society, he had to at first become part of that society. Before becoming an individual in America, he had to first become a member of the crowd. 

Essay Topic 1

Part One: What does Rodriguez argue about bilingual education? Explain his argument thoroughly and give specific examples that he uses to support his argument.

Part Two: Do you agree with Rodriguez's arguments? Why or why not? Provide your own examples to support your argument.

Essay Topic 2

Rodriguez's attitude about complexion was affected by the "Black is Beautiful" movement. This movement preached that people should accept themselves for who they are rather than trying to match a specific idealized image. At that time, the idealized image was inevitably the image of a white person, which made it difficult for non-whites to see themselves as beautiful.

Part One: What was Rodriguez's attitude about his complexion as a child? What did the people around him say about his complexion?

Part Two: Besides the "Black is Beautiful" movement, what other things changed Rodriguez's attitude about his complexion? How did his...

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