Elizabeth Bishop's Early Life

783 Words 4 Pages
Life is an uncontrollable force that drives one in and out of places of comfort and hope at an unsteady pace. Elizabeth Bishop has expressed her experience with the push and pulls of life through her glorious and imaginative works. Throughout Bishop’s writings she expresses the hard young life she endured, her conflicts with her health throughout her life, and her travels. Many of her works were influenced by friends and colleagues as she went from her young education and growing into her years as a writer.
Elizabeth Bishop experienced many hardships in her early childhood. Her father, William Bishop, died when Elizabeth was only eight months old and had battled with Bright’s disease intermittently for six years foregoing his death (Millier 3). Gertrude Bishop, Elizabeth’s mother, endured prolonged grieving for the loss of her husband. Gertrude’s mourning lead to a pitfall of depression that consequently transitioned into hallucinations (Fountain 3). The first documentation of her mental attacks occurred when Elizabeth was only three. After suffering a series of breakdowns, Gertrude Bishop was permanently institutionalized and never recovered from her mental health (Baym 71). Though Elizabeth was a very young when her mother’s illness began, her memories of the terrors and
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Elizabeth had very little interactions with her mental mother which, aided in sustaining her daily life. Elizabeth Boomer was a well-known woman of God and had introduced Elizabeth to many of the Baptist and Presbyterian hymns that would be her first glances into the world of poetry (Millier 14). William Boomer also had a role in Bishops early life. William was a deacon of the family’s church and was also a well sustained farmer (Fountain 6). Bishop expressed her fondness of her grandfather and the time he had spent with her in her poem

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