Thematic Analysis Of The Poem 'One Art' By Elizabeth Bishop

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The poem “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop dramatizes the conflict between submitting to the pain of loss and looking around it. The speaker is a person who has undergone many loses and is finding difficulty in accepting their most recent loss. They start by giving the example of losing their door keys, providing the humorous image of looking everywhere for the small items. Then, the losses get more intense. We move onto losing their mother’s watch (worth sentimental value), property, and hopes, yet the speaker seemingly has no qualms with forgoing these things and repeatedly utters, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master” and “Is miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster” (1,15). In the final stanza, we realize that the speaker has yet to have come …show more content…
The latter option connects very well with the idea that the speaker is stuck on repeat. As opposed to just door keys, the speaker loses “loved houses,” “two cities, lovely ones,” and even a continent (11, 13). It seems just a little odd that the speaker is so indifferent about the events. It isn’t until line 15 where the speaker shows any emotion, even then only saying that they “miss them.” From this disturbing behavior, we can come to the conclusion that the speaker is simply trying to avoid the truth of their pain and suffering. It is from this realization that the conflicts and big ideas begin to …show more content…
First, the poet uses a parenthesis, bringing us briefly into the speaker’s mind. The speaker says “Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture / I love) I shan’t have lied” (16-17). While this may seem like an odd way of presenting information, upon investigation, the parenthesis represents the speaker’s thoughts regarding the phrase they were about to say; they were going to say that even losing “you” wasn’t that big of a deal, but that is simply false. The last line pushes the conflict even further with another parenthesis; the speaker struggles with writing the phrase “though it may look like disaster” because it truly is a travesty. Additionally, the poem generally uses a three-line ABA rhyme scheme, but this pattern is broken in the final stanza. This leads to a few observations which sustainedly maintain the main conflicts and the author’s and speaker’s stances. Initially, we can see that lines of “master” and “disaster” (which are used alternatively at the end of stanzas) are now together; this signifies a unity of ideas, stressing the idea that this conquering of the art of losing is nothing but a calamity, especially for the speaker who has broken down. Alternatively, the change in number of lines could represent a failure in the speaker’s thinking, unable to keep track of their normal

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