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1Megan Miller4/2/15CRW1301Final Paper: An analysis of Elizabeth Bishop“All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper just running down the edges of different countries and continents, ‘looking for something’.”(Elizabeth Bishop) In her own words Elizabeth bishop describes the overarching theme found in much of her work. This is the search for a sense of belonging. Elizabeth Bishop was uprooted at a very young age. She lost her father at the age of one, and her mother was permanently institutionalized before she was five. From there she went from the custody of her maternal grandparents to her paternal grandparents, who eventually sent her to boarding school. This consistent upheaval throughout her childhood, can explain her desire for a sense of belonging. Elizabeth never truly had a stable home as a child and this reflected in her adult life as she traveled the world looking for a place to call home, eventually spending many years in Brazil. After her lover died she again began to drift around, living in many different places. Drifting was a common thing in Elizabeth Bishop’s life. She never truly settled down for very long. This consistent search for ‘something’ was talked about by Bishop herself as well as seen throughout her work.The theme, searching for a sense of belonging, can be see both in Bishop’s personal life as well as in her writing. In her personal life she was constantly moving always searching for the next place to call home. Her work reflects this part of her life through themes of loss, regret, and the predominant theme: the feeling of not
2belonging. Although this theme can be found in many of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems, “One Art”, “Insomnia”, and “The Fish” espouse this idea of not belonging, through point of view and tone of the poem. Each poem may be about a different topic but the overarching theme of belonging can be found within all three.“One Art” is a poem that on the surface is about loss. However when looking deeper, one can determine that there is an underlying theme of lack of belonging. In the poem “One Art” Elizabeth Bishop describes losing things as an art form. She