What is the theme of "Bilingual" by Rhina P. Espaillat, and how does it connect it to "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Both the speaker of Espaillat's "Bilingual/Bilingüe" and the speaker of Kincaid's "Girl" are chided by parents who do not understand the challenges of functioning within two cultures and languages—the common theme of both works. Espaillat's speaker is a frustrated bilingual poet: she knows two worlds and expresses them as such in her verse, even though her father would like her to keep her English and Spanish selves apart (an impossible task).

Kincaid's speaker is a girl trying to do the "right thing" as she comes to terms with colonial British and Antiguan customs and rules. The mother figure in the text holds her to high standards.

Both girls have a strong but somewhat ineffective voice. Espaillat's speaker expresses her difficulties via poetry. Kincaid's character's voice is drowned out by the incessant demands of the mother figure who, due to her fear of her daughter's failure in life, stifles the girl's endeavors.

A primary theme of Espaillat's poem "Bilingual/Bilingüe" is

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 582 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on