Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan all deal with issues of language and acceptance in the community. What do they say and how does this relate to your own experience.


Rodriguez and Tan attached down below.


Support your arguments, reasoning and/or reflections with at least 2 specific examples from course readings and materials(i attached two of them ). “Support” means that you will discuss and explain the example, interpreting its meaning and developing its implications as evidence.


Respond in a typed, 12-point font, double-spaced, and page-numbered essay 5 pages in length with 1-inch margins. Provide a title page that gives your name, the course number and title, instructor’s name, quarter and year, the prompt you have chosen, the title of your essay, and the date turned in.

Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

“The Achievement of Desire” Richard Rodriguez

I stand in the ghetto classroom—”the guest speaker”—attempting to lecture on the mystery of the sounds of

our words to rows of diffident students. “Don’t you hear it? Listen! The music of our words. ‘Sumer is icumen in. . .

.’ And songs on the car radio. We need Aretha Franklin’s voice to fill plain words with music—her life.” In the face

of their empty stares, I try to create an enthusiasm. But the girls in the back row turn to watch some boy passing

outside. There are flutters of smiles, waves. And someone’s mouth elongates heavy, silent words through the barrier

of glass. Silent words— the lips straining to shape each voiceless syllable: “Meet meee late errr.” By the door, the

instructor smiles at me, apparently hoping that I will be able to spark some enthusiasm in the class. But only one

student seems to be listening. A girl, maybe fourteen. In this gray room her eyes shine with ambition. She keeps

nodding and nodding at all that I say; she even takes notes. And each time I ask a question, she jerks up and down in

her desk like a marionette, while her hand waves over the bowed heads of her classmates. It is myself (as a boy) I

see as she faces me now (a man in my thirties).

The boy who first entered a classroom barely able to speak English, twenty years later concluded his studies

in the stately quiet of the reading room in the British Museum. Thus with one sentence I can summarize my

academic career. It will be harder to summarize what sort of life connects the boy to the man.

With every award, each graduation from one level of education to the next, people I’d meet would

congratulate me. Their refrain was always the same: “Your parents must be very proud.” Sometimes then they’d ask

me how I managed it—my “success.” (How?) After a while, I had several quick answers to give in reply. I’d admit,

for one thing, that I went to an excellent grammar school. (My earliest teachers, the nuns, made my success their

ambition.) And my brother and both my sisters were very good students. (They often brought home the shiny school

trophies I came to want.) And my mother and father always encouraged me. (At every graduation they were behind

the stunning flash of the camera when I turned to look at the crowd.)

As important as these factors were, however, they account inadequately for my academic advance. Nor do

they suggest what an odd success I managed. For although I was a very good student, I was also a very bad student. I

was a “scholarship boy,” a certain kind of scholarship boy. Always successful, I was always unconfident.

Exhilarated by my progress. Sad. I became the prized student—anxious and eager to learn. Too eager, too

anxious—an imitative and unoriginal pupil. My brother and two sisters enjoyed the advantages I did, and they grew

to be as successful as I, but none of them ever seemed so anxious about their schooling. A second grade student, I

was the one who came home and corrected the “simple” grammatical mistakes of our parents. (“Two negatives make

a positive.”) Proudly I announced— to my family’s startled silence— that a teacher had said I was losing all trace of a

Spanish accent. I was oddly annoyed when I was unable to get parental help with a homework assignment. The night

my father tried to help me with an arithmetic exercise, he kept reading the instructions, each time more deliberately,

until I pried the textbook out of his hands, saying, “I’ll try to figure it out some more by myself.”

When I reached the third grade, I outgrew such behavior. I became more tactful, careful to keep separate

the two very different worlds of my day. But then, with ever-increasing intensity, I devoted myself to my studies. I

became bookish, puzzling to all my family. Ambition set me apart. When my brother saw me struggling home with

stacks of library books, he would laugh, shouting: “Hey, Four Eyes!” My father opened a closet one day and was

startled to find me inside, reading a novel. My mother would find me reading when I was supposed to be asleep or

helping around the house or playing outside. In a voice angry or worried or just curious, she’d ask: “What do you see

in your books?” It became the family’s joke. When I was called and wouldn’t reply, someone would say I must be

hiding under my bed with a book.

Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

(How did I manage my success?)

What I am about to say to you has taken me more than twenty years to admit: A primary reason for my

success in the classroom was that I couldn’t forget that schooling was changing me and separating me from the life I

enjoyed before becoming a student. That simple realization! For years I never spoke to anyone about it. Never

mentioned a thing to my family or my teachers or classmates. From a very early age, I understood enough, just

enough about my classroom experiences to keep what I knew repressed, hidden beneath layers of embarrassment.

Not until my last months as a graduate student, nearly thirty years old, was it possible for me to think much about the

reasons for my academic success. Only then. At the end of my schooling, I needed to determine how far I had moved

from my past. The adult finally confronted, and now must publicly say, what the child shuddered from knowing and

could never admit to himself or to those many faces that smiled at his every success. (“Your parents must be very


proud. ..”)


At the end, in the British Museum (too distracted to finish my dissertation) for weeks I read, speed-read,

books by modern educational theorists, only to find infrequent and slight mention of students like me. (Much more is

written about the more typical case, the lower-class student who barely is helped by his schooling.) T hen one day,

leafing through Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy, I found, in his description of the scholarship boy, myself.

For the first time I realized that there were other students like me, and so I was able to frame the meaning of my

academic success, its consequent price-the loss.

Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

Hoggart’s description is distinguished, at least initially, by deep understanding. What he grasps very well is

that the scholarship boy must move between environments, his home and the classroom, which are at cultural

extremes, opposed. With his family, the boy has the intense pleasure of intimacy, the family’s consolation in feeling

public alienation. Lavish emotions texture home life. Then, at school, the instruction bids him to trust lonely reason

primarily. Immediate needs set the pace of his parents’ lives. From his mother and father the boy learns to trust

spontaneity and nonrational ways of knowing. Then, at school, there is mental calm. Teachers emphasize the value

of a reflectiveness that opens a space between thinking and immediate action.

Years of schooling must pass before the boy will be able to sketch the cultural differences in his day as

abstractly as this. But he senses those differences early. Perhaps as early as the night he brings home an assignment

from school and finds the house too no isy for study.

He has to be more and more alone, if he is going to “get on.” He will have, probably

unconsciously, to oppose the ethos of the hearth, the intense gregariousness of the working-class

family group. Since everything centres upon the living-room, there is unlikely to be a room of his

own; the bedrooms are cold and inhospitable, and to warm them or the front room, if there is one,

would not only be expensive, but would require an imaginative leap—out of the tradition—which

most families are not capable of making. There is a corner of the living-room table. On the other

side M other is ironing, the wireless is on, someone is singing a snatch of song or Father says

intermittently whatever comes into his head. The boy has to cut himself off mentally, so as to do

his homework, as well as he can.

Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

The next day, the lesson is as apparent at school. There are even rows of desks. Discussion is ordered . The boy must

rehearse his thoughts and raise his hand before speaking out in a loud voice to an audience of classmates. And there

is time enough, and silence, to think about ideas (big ideas) never considered at home by his parents.

Not for the working-class child alone is adjustment to the classroom difficult. Good schooling requires that

any student alter early childhood habits. But the working-class child is usually least prepared for the change. And,

unlike many middle-class children, he goes home and sees in his parents a way of life no t only different but starkly

opposed to that of the classroom. (He enters the house and hears his parents talking in ways his teachers discourage.)

Without extraord inary determination and the great assistance of others—at home and at school— there is

little chance for success. Typically most working-class children are barely changed by the classroom. The exception

succeeds. The relative few become scholarship students. Of these, Richard Hoggart estimates, most manage a fairly

graceful transition. Somehow they learn to live in the two very different worlds of their day. There are some others,

however, those Hoggart pejoratively terms “scholarship boys,” for whom success comes with special anxiety.

Scholarship boy: good student, troubled son. The child is “moderately endowed,” intellectually mediocre, Hoggart

supposes—though it may be more pertinent to note the special qualities of temperament in the child. High-strung

child. Brooding. Sensitive. Haunted by the knowledge that one chooses to become a student. (Education is not an

inevitable or natural step in growing up.) Here is a child who cannot forget that his academic success distances him

from a life he loved, even from his own memory of himself.

Initially, he wavers, balances allegiance. (“The boy is himself [until he reaches, say, the upper forms] very

much of both the worlds of home and school. He is enormously obedient to the dictates of the world of school, but

emotionally still strongly wants to continue as part of the family circle.”) Gradually, necessarily, the balance is lost.

The boy needs to spend more and more time studying, each night enclosing himself in the silence permitted and

required by intense concentration. He takes his first step toward academic success, away from his family.

From the very first days, through the years following, it will be with his parents—the figures of lost


authority, the persons toward whom he feels deepest love-that the change will be most powerfully measured. A

separation will unravel between them. Advancing in his studies, the boy notices that his mother and father have not

changed as much as he. Rather, when he sees them, they often remind him of the person he once was and the life he

earlier shared with them. He realizes what some Romantics also know when they praise the working class for the

capacity for human closeness, qualities of passion and spontaneity, that the rest of us experience in like measure only

in the earliest part of our youth. For the Romantic, this doesn’t make working-class life childish. Working-class life

challenges precisely because it is an adult way of life…

Assignment: Miner, Rodriguez, and Tan Arguments

Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan

I am not a scholar of English or literature. I cannot give you much more than personal opinions on the English language and its variations in this country or others.

I am a writer. And by that definition, I am someone who has always loved language. I am fascinated by language in daily life. I spend a great deal of my time thinking about the power of language — the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth. Language is the tool of my trade. And I use them all — all the Englishes I grew up with.

Recently, I was made keenly aware of the different Englishes I do use. I was giving a talk to a large group of people, the same talk I had already given to half a dozen other groups. The nature of the talk was about my writing, my life, and my book, The Joy Luck Club. The talk was going along well enough, until I remembered one major difference that made the whole talk sound wrong. My mother was in the room. And it was perhaps the first time she had heard me give a lengthy speech, using the kind of English I have never used with her. I was saying things like, “The intersection of memory upon imagination” and “There is an aspect of my fiction that relates to thus-and-thus’–a speech filled with carefully wrought grammatical phrases, burdened, it suddenly seemed to me, with nominalized forms, past perfect tenses, conditional phrases, all the forms of standard English that I had learned in school and through books, the forms of English I did not use at home with my mother.


Discussion Questions (DQ)

  • Initial responses to the DQ should address all components of the questions asked, include a minimum of one scholarly source, and be at least 250 words.
  • Successful responses are substantive (i.e., add something new to the discussion, engage others in the discussion, well-developed idea) and include at least one scholarly source.
  • One or two sentence responses, simple statements of agreement or “good post,” and responses that are off-topic will not count as substantive. Substantive responses should be at least 150 words.
  • I encourage you to incorporate the readings from the week (as applicable) into your responses.

Weekly Participation

  • Your initial responses to the mandatory DQ do not count toward participation and are graded separately.
  • In addition to the DQ responses, you must post at least one reply to peers (or me) on three separate days, for a total of three replies.
  • Participation posts do not require a scholarly source/citation (unless you cite someone else’s work).
  • Part of your weekly participation includes viewing the weekly announcement and attesting to watching it in the comments. These announcements are made to ensure you understand everything that is due during the week.

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  • Familiarize yourself with APA format and practice using it correctly. It is used for most writing assignments for your degree. Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for APA paper templates, citation examples, tips, etc. Points will be deducted for poor use of APA format or absence of APA format (if required).
  • Cite all sources of information! When in doubt, cite the source. Paraphrasing also requires a citation.
  • I highly recommend using the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition.

Use of Direct Quotes

  • I discourage overutilization of direct quotes in DQs and assignments at the Masters’ level and deduct points accordingly.
  • As Masters’ level students, it is important that you be able to critically analyze and interpret information from journal articles and other resources. Simply restating someone else’s words does not demonstrate an understanding of the content or critical analysis of the content.
  • It is best to paraphrase content and cite your source.


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