Hunger of Memory

Rodriguez has an older brother, an older sister, and a younger sister. The reader learns few identifying details about the Rodriguez siblings, and Rodriguez never divulges their names. The siblings have all grown up to be successful (both sisters are business executives and Rodriguez’s brother is a lawyer), even though, according to Rodriguez, none of them was ever the anxious student that he was. Of his three siblings, Rodriguez’s older sister appears most substantially in the book. Rodriguez feels a special connection to her because she, like Rodriguez, has a dark complexion that makes her stand out from the rest of the family. Though the reader does not learn many details of the Rodriguez siblings, it is evident from passages of the book (such as the dedication) that Rodriguez’s brother and sisters have steady, conventional jobs that sometimes make Rodriguez—and, more profoundly, his mother and father—feel anxious and inadequate in comparison.

Rodriguez’s Siblings Quotes in Hunger of Memory

The Hunger of Memory quotes below are all either spoken by Rodriguez’s Siblings or refer to Rodriguez’s Siblings . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Private vs. Public Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dial Press edition of Hunger of Memory published in 2004.
Chapter 1 Quotes

One Saturday morning I entered the kitchen where my parents were talking in Spanish. I did not realize that they were talking in Spanish however until, at the moment they saw me, I heard their voices change to speak English. Those gringo sounds they uttered startled me. Pushed me away. In that moment of trivial misunderstanding and profound insight, I felt my throat twisted by unsounded grief. I turned quickly and left the room. But I had no place to escape to with Spanish. (The spell was broken.) My brother and sisters were speaking English in another part of the house.

Related Symbols: Silence
Page Number: 20-21
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

My mother must use a high-pitched tone of voice when she addresses people who are not relatives. It is a tone of voice I have all my life heard her use away from the house. Coming home from grammar school with new friends, I would hear it, its reminder: My new intimates were strangers to her. Like my sisters and brother, over the years, I’ve grown used to hearing that voice. Expected to hear it. Though I suspect that voice has played deep in my soul, sounding a lyre, to recall my “betrayal,” my movement away from our family’s intimate past.

Page Number: 191-192
Explanation and Analysis:
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All those faraway childhood mornings in Sacramento, walking together to school, [my siblings and I] talked but never mentioned a thing about what concerned us so much: the great event of our schooling, the change it forced on our lives. Years passed. Silence grew thicker, less penetrable. We grew older without ever speaking to each other about any of it. Intimacy grooved our voices in familiar notes; familiarity defined the limits of what could be said. Until we became adults. And now we see each other most years at noisy family gatherings where there is no place to stop the conversation, no right moment to turn the heads of listeners, no way to essay this, my voice.

Related Characters: Richard Rodriguez (speaker), Rodriguez’s Siblings
Related Symbols: Silence
Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Rodriguez’s Siblings Character Timeline in Hunger of Memory

The timeline below shows where the character Rodriguez’s Siblings appears in Hunger of Memory. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Complexion
Race, Class, and Identity Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Rodriguez reflects on the fact that he and his older sister are the only members of their nuclear family with dark complexions. Despite the fact that,... (full context)
Race, Class, and Identity Theme Icon
Language, Intimacy, and Authority Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Rodriguez elaborates that his extended family members shared his mother’s (and sister’s) preference for light skin. He claims that, even though he was the target of racial... (full context)
Race, Class, and Identity Theme Icon
Memory Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...how important symbols and appearances were to his parents. He recalls that when his older sister wanted to take a job cleaning houses in high school, his mother allowed it only... (full context)
Chapter 6: Mr. Secrets
Private vs. Public Identity Theme Icon
Language, Intimacy, and Authority Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...home. Rodriguez elaborates that the Rodriguez in Hunger of Memory is not the person his siblings know, but that he hopes they will also understand that, sometimes, one must “escape to... (full context)
Language, Intimacy, and Authority Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Rodriguez writes that he sees his brother and sisters a couple of times a year, but that the whole family only gathers... (full context)