Literary Analysis: One Art, By Elizabeth Bishop

1712 Words7 Pages
Elizabeth Bishop is an American poet, who has suffered many losses throughout her life. She has lost her father, mother, lover and much more. This poem, “One Art”, is a way for her to express how she copes with her losses. She uses real life examples that she has personally experienced to give the reader an image of what she is trying to express. She also occasionally uses metaphors and sound devices, to convey what she means. Throughout the poem, she is trying to convince herself that since loss often happens, you can master overcoming the feelings that come with it. She tries to prepare herself for a great loss throughout the poem, by attempting to perfect the art of losing, telling herself that loss is no disaster. Mastering…show more content…
First, lose something every day, “then practice losing farther, losing faster…(7)”. The use of the word practice, along with the idea of mastering, allows the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ to come to mind. This expresses how the poet believes that coping with loss can be perfected, in a way that it will no longer give them pain. The words faster, from line 7, and disaster from the line “… None of these will bring disaster. (9)” both rhyme, which connects them together. This connection expresses how they want to get over the idea of loss being a disaster, without it being a slow process of acceptance. The persona wants the idea of loss being a disaster to fade away, knowing that time will take care of the pain. The poet knows that time plays a role in loss when she mentions that everyday there is an "....hour badly spent (5)", that the feeling of disaster can go away faster if she practices. She even mentions how she lost her "...mother's watch... (10)". The watch represents how she lost time, specifically with her mother. The poet's mother was admitted to an asylum when she was young, so she did not have much time with her mother, which is how she lost her mother's…show more content…
This stanza is where you see the disaster, that she has been convincing herself does not exist, can be found. It is different from the rest of the stanzas, showing how this loss is different from the rest. The addition of the word ‘even’ in the line “—Even losing you…(16)” adds emphasis to the line which is unlike the tone in the rest of the poem. It shows not only how this loss is different from anything else but how broken the persona feels. The line has a gentleness towards it when said, showing not only how much she still loves this person but how devastating the death of this person was. She had a lover who committed suicide and this line represent how much that death broke her. She lost so much, and she thought she would finally keep this one. She reminisces on her lover in the line “…(the joking voice, a gesture(16)/ I love)(17)…”. Showing not only how much she still loves her, but how even with her trying to get over the loss, it still hurts. The poet has not only broken their confident tone, but their will to convince themselves, as she says “…I shan’t have lied…(17)” as if she's saying she should stop lying to herself. She tells herself she should stop but she does not, as the poet continues saying the line “the art of losing’s not too hard to master…(18)”. The addition of the word ‘too” adds emphasis in the line, as if she is now unsure whether

More about Literary Analysis: One Art, By Elizabeth Bishop

Open Document