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. What does his mother think about his reading?

2. What is Rodriguez's initial response to bilingual education?

3. How does Rodriguez think the church treats his parents?

4. In The Achievement of Desire, Prologue, Rodriguez says that now that he is successful, people always ask him a certain question. What is it?

5. How does Rodriguez feel about learning English?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Rodriguez use the label "minority student"? How does he feel about it? Give specific reasons why he feels that way.

2. How do people respond to Rodriguez's skin color when he is younger?

3. Why does Rodriguez write his mother a letter?

4. How does Rodriguez feel about bilingual education?

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

6. As a child, what does Rodriguez learn about dark skin?

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

8. How do Rodriguez's ideas about dark skin change as he grows up? Give specific examples.

9. What conversation does Rodriguez have with a colleague about teaching positions? What decision does Rodriguez make as a result of that conversation?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Rodriguez is told that men behave in one way and women behave in another way. He is embarrassed because based on those standards, he acts more like a woman than a man.

Part One: How does Rodriguez's family define male and female behavior? Why do you think they have those opinions?

Part Two: Do the characters in the book follow those guidelines for male and female behavior? What happens to characters who do not follow the guidelines? What happens to characters who do follow the guidelines? What is Rodriguez saying about gender roles?

Essay Topic 3

Many books written by minority authors identify the discrimination, challenges, and disadvantages faced by people of that minority group or culture. Rodriguez does acknowledge some of those things, but for the most part, his story is remarkably positive about ethnicity. In some cases, he actually identifies his ethnicity as a benefit or an advantage.

Part One: Identify at least two places in the book where Rodriguez identifies some element of his ethnicity as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.

Part Two: As a reader, what do you think about his handling of the ethnicity issue? Is he making things sound better than they really are? Do you think other writers might make things sound worse than they really are?

Part Three: Which approach would you rather read? Do you think your opinion has anything to do with your ethnicity or your life experience?

(see the answer keys)

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