Richard Rodriguez argues that individualization is vital in a child’s life and upbringing, and that there needs to be a connection between private and public individuality. In his passage he does not explain this directly, but his overall message is one of finding an identity in the world.
Rodriguez explained how his life was as a child when he spoke mostly Spanish in and out of the home, and how different and somewhat difficult it was for him in school to be communicative and expressive with the nuns and classmates who only spoke English. He was quiet in public but more vocal at home. This was because of the bond he had with his family. They were all experiencing the same disconnect with the world in which they lived, and could relate and sympathize with each other.
He talked about the ironic silence he heard when others would speak to him, which instantly reminded me of the “Silent Dialogue”. Rodriguez felt inferior when others would speak with him because he was not “at their level” for lack of a better phrase. He was not the one with the power, unless he was at home -- a comforting environment where he did not feel as though he was being judged or tested when trying to give a response.
Rodriguez continues to show the transition he experienced after he was told to speak English more often at home, for more practice. He began to notice that the tables were turning, and he was more willing to communicate outside the home because he was more confident with his abilities. As he grew as a person in society—developing a sense of public individuality—he lost a bit of his private individuality with his loved ones. His home life became literally quieter, as his father seldom spoke. This change was due to his bilingualism, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
In schools today, bilingualism is encouraged for both the staff and students. It is more accepted than it used to be, probably because it has been recognized as a tool for better communication and learning (obviously!!). When Rodriguez only knew a few phrases of English, he was not as acclimated with society, and that can take a toll on a child who is trying to grow with his peers and be accepted into an unknown world. Had he not become bilingual, who knows how his story would have played out? It is clear to anyone who reads “Aria” that Rodriguez is well educated, but it is upsetting to think that maybe his abilities would not have been completely recognized or appreciated, had they been conveyed in his native language…
Here's a little info about why bilingualism is a positive thing !