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Elizabeth Bishop: Vision and voice

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freelance writer
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Advanced
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literature
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Queens College

About the document

Andrea N.
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documents in English
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term papers
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3 pages
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Advanced
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  1. Introduction
  2. The speaker's voice
  3. The semi-rhyming words
  4. The brilliant in the first two lines
  5. A voice to things
  6. The underlying theme of masking
  7. The usage of parenthesis
  8. Bishop's tendency to depersonalize personal concepts
  9. Conclusion

In an interview with Elizabeth Bishop given by the Assistant Home Forum Editor of the Christian Science Monitor, Bishop explained that poems come ?in many guises.? This remains true for most of Bishop's poetry, as well as for the voice that is created by her words. For example, in the poem ?Pink Dog,? Bishop articulates a sad scene in which a sick and hairless dog is being compared to the poor and homeless beggars on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The poem appears to be about the disheartening vision of the dog, but as it develops it becomes clear that what Bishop is doing is simply using the dog to portray a bigger picture.

[...] The voice is sad, and tired. I picture the speaker in my mind as she's sitting in bed, unable to sleep, when she happens to catch a glimpse of the moon reflected in the mirror on the bureau. Bishop forces the reader to experience these visuals along with the speaker; they experience everything simultaneously. The moon is depicted as female in these lines, as Bishop writes, ?perhaps she's a daytime sleeper? (l. 6). This construct of continuous interaction with the inanimate and the unconscious notion that something underneath the surface is plaguing the speaker form a cohesive unit that creates an experience which is unforgettable. [...]


[...] Here, the speaker changes her tone of voice and begins to?while still somewhat keeping with the sarcasm of the poem?confess to the reader who and what she is really talking about. The second parenthetical usage is in the very last line, though it may look like (Write like disaster? (l. 19). This time, Bishop isn't using the parenthesis like a stage whisper, but rather expressing to the reader that she is forcing herself to forgo the weepy-eyed tone most loss-driven poems contain. [...]

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