Loss of One
Is it possible to care for one thing so much that the destruction or loss of a city can have no significance to a person? When a person loses so much on a daily basis, when does the loss start to make a difference? In the poem “One Art”, Elizabeth Bishop utilizes structure, rhyme scheme, and conceptual symbolism to portray that the loss of one’s love negates the loss of everything else.
To begin, the structure of this poem is entirely about the narrator attempting to convince themself of the idea that loss has no importance; then coming to the conclusion that losing one’s love is of utmost importance. In the second stanza the narrator of this poem reminds themselves that to “Lose something every day. [One must] Accept the fluster” (line 4). In this quote, they are reminding themselves that losing things is common and inevitable. In the same light, this person is feverously trying to convince themself that loss is not significant. This is shown with the repetition of the line which is found three times throughout the poem. The quote, “none of these things will bring disaster” shows that the loss of cities and rivers is not significant to the narrator compared to the loss of their love (line 9). Then, in the last stanza the narrator realizes that the loss of their love is a “disaster” and forces themselves to “Write it!” (line 19). With this quote the narrator finally gives up on their feeble attempts to believe that loss is insignificant and now knows that the greatest loss is the loss of love. Correspondingly, the last stanza is the longest in the poem, which shows how great the importance is to Bishop, because this is where the narrator realizes that the only disaster of losing things is when one loses their love. Bishop uses her rhyme scheme to highlight the priority of losing one’s love. Correspondingly, the first stanza rhyme scheme is a b a, as the lines rhyming with master and disaster. Through this rhyme scheme Bishop emphasizes the...
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