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Learning And Growing Through Life’s Losses In “One Art”

1051 words - 5 pages

Learning and Growing Through Life’s Losses in “One Art”
From the instant life begins the understanding that life is a progression of loss becomes apparent. Loss is not something one can control. Loss cannot be manipulated, but only excepted, and somewhat expected, as Elizabeth Bishop validates in her poem "One Art." Bishop's viewpoint of loss causes the reader to delve into a part of their psyche that many are not comfortable with facing. Loss, no matter the magnitude is a hard thing to accept. "One Art" with all its beauty helps the reader to understand the loss. Sometimes loss is a brutal thing, while at other times, it is a thing of great beauty. As with all things in this world, it all ...view middle of the document...

Although the loss being experienced is increasing, the speaker maintains the same level of understanding. The form in which "One Art" was written helps the reader to follow the flow of the poem. The poem being written in closed form with the first five stanzas being three lined and the last stanza being four lined. The rhyme scheme followed by Bishop is very particular, being that of ABA. The use of iambic pentameter is visible with the stress on every other syllable, as well as the way in which every other line rhyme with either "master" (1) or "disaster" (3).
As the poem progresses into the third stanza, the reader begins to sense the speaker's loss of control as the items being described become more sentimental. "I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or/ next-to-last, of three loved houses went." (10-11). While the speaker seems to trivialize these losses, the final loss of these items seems to be realer than is what is bearable. The loss of her mother's watch is symbolic in the sense that it is more than just a watch that was lost, the time and companionship which were shared with her mother is the ultimate loss suffered. The speaker's ability to downplay the reader also perceives the pain associated with loss in the way she uses the word "houses" instead of homes. The association for so many being that of a home as a source of many memories and love, while the house is only a domicile in which one resides. Once again, the stanza ends with the line, "The art of losing isn't hard to master" (12) suggesting once again, loss is normal as well as constant.
The progression into the final stanza delves a little deeper into who the speaker is, she appears to be a traveler. A woman of the world. The sense of all that has been lost seems to affect her more. The lines, "I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,/some realms I owned, two rivers, a...

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