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A discussion on the writing style of elizabeth bishop

I admire her ability to find extraordinary aspects in every day experiences. She uses a combination of precise, imaginative description and thought-provoking insight.

What makes her poetry particularly appealing is her desire to probe beneath the surface.

These moments of insight, often dramatic and always interesting, help us to better understand the world in which we live. In this poem, Bishop describes the experience of catching a fish.

We are drawn into the poem by the first person narrative: A domestic simile helps us to visualise the fish: Bishop personifies the Fish as a veteran. This is an insightful crescendo in this poem. The fish is a symbol of the resilience of the human spirit and the capacity to survive the vicissitudes of life. This insight has an uplifting effect on the poet and indeed the reader. The detail, to which she describes the fish expresses her personal response to it.

I particularly like the optimistic image, with which the poem ends: Every minute detail in the imagery describes her thought process.

This stylistic feature, where the poem builds to a conclusion or a question, is evident in many of her poems. Bishop has a skill of taking something ordinary and, with vivid descriptive imagery, she gives it an underlying universal significance. Her close observation of the unlikely domestic world that she encounters here sets her thinking: Again, we see how reflection leads to insight.

The poet realises that some unseen person has done their best to create some semblance of domestic order in the world of grime: This is one of the only times we see a glimpse of humour in Bishop.

A discussion on the writing style of elizabeth bishop

The poet concludes that there is always someone doing their best to quietly improve the quality of our lives: The human ability to rise above the ugliness of life means that beauty and love are to be found in the most unlikely places.

There is a strong sensuous quality to her description of the disorder of the bay at low tide. In overall terms, this is a bleak scene lacking in beauty, order and coherence. The overall tone of the poem is rather dark, but this leads to Bishops moment of insight. It is particularly poignant because we see the world through the eyes of an innocent, confused child. Even as a child, Bishop was sharply observant taking in every aspect of the cold parlour.

The imagery in this poem powerfully recreates an early childhood memory. The colours red and white are repeated throughout the poem. Through closely observing the scene in the parlour, Bishop comes to terms with the sense of the finality of death.

Elizabeth Bishop: Moments of Discovery & Controlled Writing Style (2.0)

The innocence and sense of wonder of the child speaker adds a profound poignancy to the occasion but also poses the profound question of the meaning of death and how one passes from one state to another: I found Bishop uniquely controlled her imagery in this poem masterful in reaching a moment of universal truth and insight that death can never fully be understood, no matter what age a person is.

Contrast emphasises that, which is known and that which is hidden. A warm, domestic scene of a child and her grandmother is powerfully contrasted with the underlying, unspoken sadness that permeates the entire scene. The six final words of the first stanza are repeated in a different order in each of the remaining five stanzas and also in the final tercet.

Elizabeth Bishop and Modern American Poetry

The immediate sense of gloom is seen through the reference to September and rain. This sense of despondency we feel in the opening scene pervades the entire poem. The absent sadness of the tone is reflected through highly imaginative metaphors and similes giving an accurate understanding of grief. There is a surreal quality to the poem as the child imagines the objects around her coming to life and engaging in a conversation: The loss of innocence is a recurring theme.

Her distinctive poetry is thoughtful and thought provoking. In terms of her style, I was struck by her remarkably vivid descriptions, and unusual similes and metaphors. Bishop was truly a masterful poet. Based on an essay of a Leaving Cert student You might also like: