Why does the poem "Legal Alien" use both English and Spanish?

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The poem "Legal Alien," by Pat Mora, describes the experiences of bilingual and bicultural Mexican-American individuals. It illustrates the transitions between two distinct languages and cultural contexts within daily life, and the feelings of isolation and alienation from being on the fringe of both cultures. The use of both Spanish and English within the poem illustrates these transitions, particularly in the line "able to slip from 'How's life?'/to 'Me'stan volviendo loca.'" The shift from Spanish to English is compared from the transition between typing in English in an American office building to ordering in Spanish from a Mexican restaurant. The use of the two languages in the poems conveys how fluidly bicultural individuals alternate between and navigate distinct cultures and tongues in their daily lives.

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