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Rodriguez has authored two books, Hunger of Memory, The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982), and Days of Obligation, An Argument With My Mexican Father (1992).A third book, Reflections of a Latin Lover, is to be released in early 2002.
The ten-year interval it took for Days of Obligation to appear saw some revisionism of this initial hostile reception, this second work receiving a friendlier, even conciliatory, reception.
Rodriguez's stylistic finesse seems to have won him a more sympathetic audience.
My father is completely unconcerned with Mexico, has no emotional tie to it, has no interest in it, but in some way his darkness is very Mexican and I grew up within these two polarities: my very Mexican-loving mother, my Mexican-hating father.
I became acquainted with some of the works of Richard Rodriguez while listening to National Public Radio and through various textbooks I have used to teach writing, and felt that a more in-depth survey of his works would be of interest to me.
(393)Essentially, Limn feels that Rodriguez is not particularly qualified to comment on the issues regarding Mexicans or Mexican-Americans.
After reading many of Rodriguez' works, it appears to me that his intent is more to comment on and explore various issues, issues not limited exclusively to those that deal with Mexican/American relations, to raise public awareness of a multitude of issues, and to propose questions to which answers are not always easy or readily available.I will also look into the work of one of his most negative critics, as well as some positive criticism, in an attempt to see the issues he raises from more than one perspective.When [he] entered Sacred Heart School in Sacramento, California, his English vocabulary consisted of barely fifty words. He kept quiet, listening to the sounds of middle-class American speech, feeling alone.Writing in the Winter, 1998, edition of Texas Studies in Literature and Language, guest editor Jos Limn states that Rodriguez was at one point "[...] on the verge of becoming a professor of English [...] [but] has chosen the path of the public intellectual [...]" (emphasis added) which he describes as someone who "[...] speaks in an accessible though by no means unintellectual public language" (389).Limn also describes Rodriguez as [...] a distinctive figure in American letters in at least two important respects.Langue(s) HT: Richard, can we begin by talking about when and where you were born?RR: I was born in San Francisco, about a mile from where we are sitting now, in a place called St. My mother and father lived over on O'Farrell Street, which was only about five blocks from where we are.Rodriguez first came to national prominence with the publication of Hunger of Memory in 1982, a work which would become part of a triptych alongside Days of Obligations: An Argument with my Mexican Father and, most recently, Brown: The Last Discovery of America.This interview anticipates the publication of Brown.Having grown up and lived much of my adult life on the border, I am very interested in the cross-cultural conflicts that continue to trouble the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and Rodriguez' unique point of view provides a direct window into a culture rife with its own conflicts that exacerbate and perpetuate social, political, religious and cultural differences between the two countries.In this research journal, I will review sections of both of Rodriguez' books as well as transcripts of various essays, interviews, and broadcasts from PBS and NPR programs.