Elizabeth Bishop's The Unbeliever

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Have you ever had a dream that felt so lucid, so vivid, that you were convinced it was real life? Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Unbeliever” could be one of those dreams. In this poem Bishop brings the reader into the fantastical world of a sleeping man. On top of the mast, the dreamer attempts to resist the supernatural elements around him. The cloud and the bird simultaneously insist that he needn’t fear falling from the air because there are invisible pillars of “marble” (Bishop, 24) propping them up. Both the reader and man know that this is not true, and that reason would say that if the man falls off the top of the mast, he would plummet to his death. However, Bishop’s fabrication proves so alluring that we ourselves are almost convinced…show more content…
Bishop’s “The Unbeliever” shares many thematic and structural elements with Marianne Moore’s “The Mind is an Enchanting Thing.” Both writers set out to prove that there is something charmed about the human mind, although they approach the idea in different…show more content…
She explores the theme that that there is something beautiful to be found in the mind. While Bishop shows this abstract beauty through vivid narration, Moore instead reinforces her thesis with examples, like the idea of being able to hear something that’s not actually happening out loud. (Like when you have a song in your head.) She writes, “[The mind] has memory’s ear/ that can hear without/ having to hear” (Moore 124). Afterward, she has the reader imagine a gyroscope falling to the ground so that we ourselves can hear it. Incredibly we do in fact hear this sound even though there is no gyroscope anywhere to be found. This inconsistency, between our mind and our reality shows just how amazing our minds are. Because we can hear something that is not actually there, Moore has proved that even our own minds are enchanted. We read through the poem, and by reading through the poem we cannot help but to acknowledge her point. We’re hearing the gyroscope

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