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. As a child, how does Rodriguez feel about speaking English?

2. According to Rodriguez, what is wrong with speaking a private language in public?

3. How does the family's communication change as the children learn more English?

4. How does Rodriguez feel about his education?

5. How does Rodriguez feel about learning English?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the parents' desire for a good education end up hurting their family?

2. How does Rodriguez view his parents' use of English?

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

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

5. What does Rodriguez say about his experience of growing up Catholic?

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

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

8. What does Rodriguez identify as the symbol of how these two versions of Catholicism intersect in his life?

9. Rodriguez's family continues to speak to him in Spanish. What does that suggest about what they think about the value of Spanish?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Rodriguez says that writing is difficult and writing about his family is very difficult. When he is younger, he makes up elaborate lies about his family. As an adult, he chooses to write this book about his family, which is intended to be a realistic portrayal of his relationship with them.

Part One: If writing is difficult and he does it anyway, what does that tell you about what he has to say?

Part Two: Why is writing about his family more difficult than other types of writing? Why did he lie about his family when he was younger? Is he telling the truth about them now? Why or why not?

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 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.

(see the answer keys)

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