Analytical Essay on Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez As Bilingual Authors

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

Although English is not the most spoken language in the world, it is overwhelmingly the most studied language and is also the most common second language. Brought over from Britain hundreds of years ago, English is now the most common language in the United States of America. In 2019, the topic of immigration in the U.S. is more prevalent than ever, sparking many discussions about bilingualism and designating an official language. Martín Espada and Richard Rodriguez are bilingual authors that discuss those very issues, but with wildly different takes: Martín Espada’s essay, “The New Bathroom Policy at English High School,” explains of his experiences as a controversial author and lawyer in the United States while Richard Rodriguez recollects his time learning english in his excerpt, “Hunger of Memory.” Here, in these essays, bilingualism in the practical world is also discussed. Espada explores a close relationship between a language and culture, an attack on one is an attack on the other. Contrary, Rodriguez reviews his childhood, deeming there to be less of a bond between language and culture and more of a link between language, communication, and understanding.

Martín Espada, a lawyer and writer known for his political poetry, describes his experience as a Spanish speaker in a primarily English speaking country in his essay, “The New Bathroom Policy at English High School.” In his essay, Espada writes about being harassed when speaking Spanish and working to combat the severe injustices Spanish-only speakers face. Through his experiences, Espada illustrates his definition of bilingualism, which is an intertwining of language and identity, and as a frequent protester for bilingual rights, the connection Espada feels between himself and Spanish is deeper than communication alone. Furthermore, Espada even mentions he “speak[s] Spanish with [his] heart” (7). Even though Spanish is his second language, Espada has a heartfelt, passionate love for Spanish; to Espada, Spanish is no longer just another language but his whole identity. Recognizing the complete package that is language and identity, Espada has strong opinions about the banning of Spanish from schools and English becoming the U.S.A.’s official language, therefore claiming this “is part of a larger attempt to silence Latinos” (15). He feels that the United States is waging a war against Latinos that can blatantly be seen in the courtroom. This culture aggression is demonstrated by a lack of translators during trials and thus imposing on Spanish-only speakers’ right to a fair trial. Espada believes, without a doubt, that bilingualism should not be challenged in the United States or in schools.

Richard Rodriguez is the author of the book “Hunger of Memory” and is the son of Spanish immigrants. In a short excerpt, Rodriguez writes about his initial resistance to learning English. His unwillingness to learn English is in direct competition with a quote from author and bilingual activist, Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, Espada included in his essay: “‘I have never met a single person who didn’t want to learn English” (9). Also in opposition to Espada, Rodriguez believes bilingualism is less about culture and more about “mak[ing] oneself understood by many others” (21). To understand his view of bilingualism, Rodriguez takes readers back to his childhood, back to when he was just learning English; he mentions, as a child, he believed there to be a public language and private language. The public language would be English and the private language would be Spanish. This belief created strong ties between him and Spanish creating difficulties learning English for fear those bonds would be broken. Similarly to Martin Espada, when Rodriguez was a child, language and identity were closely connected. Later on, Rodriguez realizes he “wrongly imagined that English was intrinsically a public language and Spanish an intrinsically private one” (21). Once Rodriguez’s family began speaking in English at home, he realized that English and Spanish could be spoken in and out of home. As little Rodriguez began to grow up, his Spanish “security blanket” was ripped out of his hands by reality and the necessity to speak the language of the people. Despite the disappearance of these cultural ties, Rodriguez’s child self found himself greatly relieved when he no longer had to fight to be understood.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

While both essays and authors provide excellent points, I resonate more with Rodriguez. I grew up with multiple cultures, my mom Malaysian born and my father Hispanic and Pacific Islander. I was lucky to have these experiences growing up; even after my parents separated, I spent a majority of my summers sweating in Malaysia and many birthday parties with my Hispanic family. I was able to be a part of these two vastly different cultures without learning either Bahasa Malaysia or Spanish. It is because of this that I believe culture doesn’t have to be linked to language. The differences in culture between the United Kingdom and the United States are apparent although both places speak English. Even the difference in culture between Portland, Oregon USA and Atlanta, Georgia USA are quickly noticed. Learning a new language does not erase your previous culture; becoming lax and influenced by the hostility of others about passing on your culture is how they dissipate.

I agree with Espada that the United States should be discouraging the forceful nature of many to impose their own cultures on others as this creates tension and aggression between different cultures. This might be all I agree with Espada about; however, as Espada occasionally rubs me the wrong way with biasly written figures and an excessive use of pathos. He brings up Proposition 187, which is much more complicated than his four sentences allude to. He uses the same tactic with a whole two sentences about a messy policy made by Theodore Roosevelt. The very brief summaries do not do the actual document and thought out speech judgement. He also makes very blunt, almost aggressive points about America having an official language with no discussion about possible benefits of having one. Espada, as a lawyer, knows much more about politics and laws than I do, but the facts and policies Espada brings up are meant to persuade rather than educate. Facts and figures wise, there is not much in Rodriguez’s essay. Rodriguez’s claims are loose and require the ability to read between the lines. Despite this, I can imagine myself in Rodriguez’s shoes as a child: the initial resistance but eventual acceptance, feeling a weight lifted off my shoulders as I no longer have to fight to be heard.

Reviewing Martín Espada and Richard Rodriguez’s essays has introduced me to new definitions of bilingualism and culture. Espada claims there to be an indisputable link between language and culture while Rodriguez puts less emphasis on that connection and more on the interrelation simply between language and communication. Espada’s essay, however thorough, brings up many more questions than likely intended. Should America be held responsible for the erasure of cultures? How can free speech between both sides (those with cultures that aren’t the norm and U.S. borns) be maintained? How much money and time should the United States be willing to spend to implement translators into courts and other places? Ultimately, the ability to maintain culture and identity despite resistance from the United States is up to the individual. A culture wished to be continued requires effort and acceptance by everyone, however wanted, should not be expected.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

Analytical Essay on Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez As Bilingual Authors. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from
“Analytical Essay on Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez As Bilingual Authors.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
Analytical Essay on Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez As Bilingual Authors. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Apr. 2024].
Analytical Essay on Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez As Bilingual Authors [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2024 Apr 23]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.