Essay Analysis Of Elizabeth Bishop 's ' The Waiting Room '

1542 Words Feb 22nd, 2016 7 Pages
Who am I? One of the simplest and most common questions a person asks, yet it may be the hardest question to answer. The sheer complexity of it is enough to discourage anyone from even attempting to find an answer. Despite that, many will embark on a journey to discover themselves, whether it’s a twenty-one year old recent graduate who doesn’t know what they’re doing with their life, a man in his eighties whose contemplating the life he lived, or a young girl who has been sheltered away in a small town in Massachusetts. Elizabeth Bishop was this girl and thus most of her poems all have a central theme of struggling to find a sense of belonging and/or human experiences of misery and longing. (Poetry Foundation) Specifically in her poem “In the Waiting Room,” Elizabeth Bishop utilizes the techniques of symbolism, structure, and style to convey that one’s identity and place in the world isn’t straightforward or uncomplicated, which will frighten a maturing adolescent.
The prevalence of symbolism throughout the poem helps Bishop communicate the idea of how a child’s sudden introduction to the confusing and unfamiliar can be a terrifying experience. While her aunt was being worked on at the dentist office, Elizabeth sat in the waiting room and, “...[while I] waited I read/ the National Geographic /(I could read) and carefully /studied the photographs...a dead man slung on a pole...babies with pointed heads...” For a large portion of the poem the National Geographic magazine…

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