Elizabeth Bishop - Language essay

1123 words 5 pages
“Bishop’s carefully judged use of language aids the reader to uncover the intensity of feeling in her poetry.”

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the above statement? Support your answer with reference to the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop on your course.




Elizabeth Bishop’s use of language in her poems has allowed readers to grasp a better understanding of feeling in her poetry. During the beginning of Bishop’s career, she was often referred to as a ‘miniaturist’. Her concentration on minor details aided readers in building mental images while reading her poems. By focusing deeply on the description of images, it became easier for readers to understand the emotion and intensity of each line. Often times, Bishop
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The analyzation of colors has taught us that red is closely linked to anger, animosity, blood, and sometimes death. While white is acknowledged as a color of innocence, purity, and light. The unofficial result of these colors combined can possibly mean an innocent death. One which Bishop finds confusing, and close to her heart. Confusing because her first presence at a funeral is that of someone younger than her, close to her heart because of the fact that Arthur was close to her age.

“… and the red-eyed loon eyed it
from his white, frozen lake”

“He had just begun on his hair,
a few red strokes, and then
Jack Frost had dropped the brush
and left him white, forever.”


Nowhere is it more apparent that Bishop uses graphic language to demonstrate emotion and feeling, than in ‘Filling Station’. ‘Filling Station’ is a poem which is based on an old gas station which Elizabeth Bishop had come across during her constant travels. The station, small, dirty and worn, is filled with items that seem, at first, out of place. A father, sporting a “dirty, oil-soaked monkey suit”, is assisted by his “greasy sons”. A strong male vibe exists about the place, though the station is referred to as a “family filling station”. As the poem goes on, it is revealed that the “out of place” items, may very well be the result of a female presence. The items, an “extraneous plant”, a

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