Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How does Rodriguez describe himself as a child?

2. What does Rodriguez start to believe about intimate conversations?

3. What does Rodriguez's family call him?

4. How does Rodriguez's mother react to his educational accomplishments?

5. How does Rodriguez explain his success to people?

Short Essay Questions

1. What conflicting messages does Rodriguez's father give him about getting an education?

2. Rodriguez finds a description in THE USES OF LITERACY that reminds him of himself. What is that description?

3. How do Catholic rituals become a part of Rodriguez's life? Which rituals does he describe?

4. How does Rodriguez describe himself as a student?

5. Why does the Rodriguez family tease Richard? What do they call him?

6. Why does Rodriguez say he spent so many years in the classroom?

7. What does Rodriguez describe as the differences between Mexican Catholicism and English Catholicism? Identify two characteristics of each.

8. What is Rodriguez's initial attitude about reading? What happens to him because of that attitude? What do his parents think about reading?

9. Does Rodriguez's family have the same level of education he does?

10. What does Rodriguez discover about language and intimacy? What family member helps him to figure that out?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Rodriguez clearly sees books as something powerful and potentially dangerous. Early on in the book, Rodriguez describes himself as being afraid to learn to read because he was aware of the power of books. Later, he describes his mother asking him what was in all those books and why he needed to read all of them. At the end of the book, he describes his nephew, who is reading, as someone who may cause trouble.

Part One: What has happened in his life to lead him to that conclusion? Give specific examples.

Part Two: Do you think other people in the book would agree with his conclusion? Why or why not? Give specific examples.

Essay Topic 2

Every book has flat and round characters. A flat character is two-dimensional, someone who serves a purpose in the book but does not seem like a living, breathing person. A round character is one who is fully developed and seems like a real person. If you read a story about a boyfriend and girlfriend eating dinner at a restaurant, the boyfriend and girlfriend will be round characters. The people at the next table or the waiter who serves them their food are probably flat characters.

Part One: Besides Richard Rodriguez, which characters in this book are round? In other words, which ones have fully developed characteristics and identities? Which ones do you feel like you really know? How big a role do these characters play in the book?

Part Two: Which characters are flat or two-dimensional? Do not try to list all of them, but pick out at least four characters that serve an important purpose, but still do not get fully developed. For example, how well developed is the priest who comes to visit? Or the group of black teenagers on the bus?

Part Three: Think as the author for a moment. Why did Rodriguez choose to make some important characters flat? Why did Rodriguez choose to make other important characters round? What does that say about the character or Rodriguez's relationship with the character?

Essay Topic 3

Rodriguez describes a period in his life when he has very low self-esteem.

Part One: Why does he have low self-esteem? What parts of himself does he feel badly about?

Part Two: What happens in his life that makes him feel worse about those things?

Part Three: What happens in his life that makes him feel better about those things? Where does he go or who does he talk to?

Part Four: In your opinion, how much of Rodriguez's low self-esteem is just typical adolescent worrying about self-image? How much of it is a result of his specific situation and the people around him?

(see the answer keys)

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