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Elizabeth Bishop's One Art And The Waiting Room

1319 words - 6 pages

American poet and short story writer Elizabeth Bishop lived between February 8, 1911- October 6, 1979. She won many awards such as The Pulitzer Prize, The National Book award, and The Neustadt International Prize for literature in 1976. Bishop was said to work obsessively on her poems and would spend years perfecting them. Two out of the many poems she wrote were “One Art”( a poem about a woman who says we can master the art of losing), and “The Waiting Room” (A speaker describing her experience as a young girl reading the National Geographic magazine, taking place on February 1918). Elizabeth implicitly used the two poems to demonstrate how people are connected through their own vulnerability.
Everyone has emotions to certain images or certain situations in life. These emotions can make a person terrified of what they truly feel. In “One Art” Elizabeth begins the poem, “The Art of losing isn't hard to master.”(1.1,2.6, 4.12) the speaker in the poem wants us to believe that we can lose things without having an emotional bondage to it. By practicing losing she feels we can master it, but losing and having emotional response to the loss is something that is human. Its as if shes afraid to admit that loss in her life has affected her. In “The Waiting Room”, Elizabeth a young girl whether the poet herself or a speaker she invented was surprised by what she felt. “What took me/completely by surprise/was that it was my voice in my mouth.”(44-47), when Elizabeth hears her aunt cry out from the dentists office, she felt she was the one crying out, as if they were living the painful experience together. Although her aunt wasn't there looking at the magazine with her, her response portrayed how she felt inside due to the images she was seeing in the National Geographic magazine.
Actions are responses triggered by ones emotions, sometimes we question why do we do the things we do or say things we don't mean. Its as if what we show or say will make everyone believe or even make our selves believe we're OK. But sometimes our actions might frighten us and we see the unexpected ways we react to certain situations. “Without thinking at all/I was my foolish aunt.”(48-49) , In “One Art” Elizabeth compares herself to her aunt. When her aunt cried out from the dentist office she felt her as a fullish women, but because she is reacting In a similar way to the magazine, she compares her aunts foolishness to her own. It was an unexpected realization that her reactions connected her to her aunt in a way she never felt before in her six years. “Lose something everyday. Accept the fluster/of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.”(48-49), The speaker wants to show us that theres nothing you can do but to accept you will lose things and to not let it get to you. In the poem her losses begin as insignificant objects that can be replaced but then she escalates her poem by significant losses like people, places, and homes. Its as if shes telling you to accept it, but...

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