Rhina Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, but her family was exiled in 1939 by the dictatorship there and emigrated to the United States. "Bilingual/Bilingüe" explores her experience growing up speaking both Spanish and English. Her father, she says, wanted her to speak English outside the house and Spanish inside, but she, wanting badly to comprehend the world in both tongues, stubbornly opposed that separation. The poem centers on themes of identity and association. How does language itself define our world view? To what extent does being bilingual really makes us bi-cultural?
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