“Aria” by Richard Rodriguez is an essay that showsthe readers a part of life that many have never experienced. Rodriguez usesthis essay to show how he fights through his childhood tounderstand English. Hefaces society while forfeiting his happy home life trying to become a typicalEnglish-speaking student.
Heestablishes a connection with the audience through his personal experience as achild. He uses imagery and narration to clarifyhis opposition to bilingual education .Rodriguez also uses the threetraditional means of rhetorical persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos to createa sense of moralcharacter,appeals to the audience’s feelingsand add more logicto his work.The author, a native Spanishspeaker strongly speaks out against bilingual education. His position is basedon his belief that “language gets learned as it gets used” (467). In otherwords, the learners master the language as they talk with other people andinteract with them.
Thepurpose is also to make an attempt at showing theEnglish speaking Americans that it is not right for their culture to infringeupon that of others in order to possibly make it easier for non-Englishspeakers to maintain their identities. His argument is effective in persuadingthe audience, because he uses a significant amount of pathos in his anecdotethat makes the reader to get involved and better understand his situation as achild, even if their first language is English.The first four paragraphs appeal toethos becausetheyact asan introduction into the author’s life. Rodriguez explains that he was a child living in a house whereonly Spanish was spoken. Thenhe attended toaschool in which only English was spoken. He describes this experiences as,”Quickly I turned to see my mother’s face dissolve in a watery blur behind the pebbledglass,” (469).
This connection between his personal experience and the argumenthe makes is what makes credibility stronger.The tone of paragraph five where heemphasizes his opposition to bilingual education begins serious and formal. Hefactuallyexplains what the bilingual education was and who started it. He thencontinues with his argument that, “it is not possible for a child- any child-ever to use his family’s language in school” (467). Having this tone emphasizeshis argument about how a child needs to learn the native language.
Thisstatement is strongly presenting his argument as well as offering his empathytowards those who might take part in this new established education system thathe claims is broken.Rodriguez appeals to pathos bytelling the reader about the hard times of being a bilingual child. He talks abouta time when two or three of his neighbors tried to make his family feel unwelcomedby “saying keep your brats away from my sidewalk”(468). This phrase makes thereader feel sympathy for Rodriguez and his family.Richard Rodriguez appeals to logosin substantiating his argument.
Heuses this device when describing language and the words he says that they canbeabridged to the sounds they made of and that the meaning of a word is not theactual meaning. This is a logical conclusion when he discusses words in amanner of the sounds thatmake.Rodriguez creates imagesas arhetorical strategy to show how much he struggles trying to get a perfectpronunciation. “Tongues explored the edges of words, especially the fat vowels”(466). This use of Imageryillustratesthe idea of how a people speak when they are struggling with somewords.
Rodriguez challenges the idea ofbilingual education in this essay. He feels that bilingual education issomething that hinders rather than helps young people that speak a languageother than English. Theauthor’s purpose is to emphasize the importance oflearning a new language and that assimilating to a new culture should not takeaway personal identity and individuality. He explains how he believes thatimplementing more English is how a smooth transition is made, not throughavoiding the uses of nativelanguage.
The uses(Rodriguez’ use) ofrhetorical strategies in this essayseeks to persuade an audience, seeks tomanipulate the way that audience thinks about the given topic; also the messageof his argument appeals to anadult audience who can understand the significanceand importance of thissubject matter(be specific—his opposition tobilingual education). They wouldpotentially be immigrants who arestruggling with the adoption of a new culture or someone who speaks both languages.The last paragraph of a college essay should summarize thebody of it without adding new information.Include a reiteration of youranalytic thesis with the devices you identify and the author’s central idea.