Critical Analysis of One Art

Critical Analysis of One Art - In Elizabeth Bishop's "One...

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In Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” the narrator talks of losing the most intimate of possessions and the effortlessness of mastering the art of losing. Bishop tells us in the poem that the narrator has lost numerous things. The things the narrator loses starts insignificantly and continues on until the narrator has lost something precious, and therefore, a loss so significant it will become exceptionally difficult to recover. “The art of losing isn’t hard to master” (line 1), and yet we lose things everyday, but it is the personal struggle of convincing ourselves that we can overcome what we have lost is the hardest and most complicated part. In the first and second stanzas the narrator speaks of things that have the intention to be lost. And indeed, we do lose something every day that is intent on being lost and “their loss is no disaster” (line 3). An example of this is when the narrator refers to “the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent” (line 5). These are things that have no emotional or spiritual significance and we are supposed to accept that these things are going to be lost. To lose the things in these two stanzas is an aggravation and are bothersome for a short time, yet “lost door keys” and “hours badly spent” (line 5) can be replaced with ease. These are examples of things that are lost every day and that can be replaced, and it is this type of loss will not “haunt” you later in life because there is no emotional or spiritual connection with these possessions. As the poem progresses, in stanza three the narrator begins to “practice” (line 7) the art of losing. The narrator talks of, “Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel” (line 7-9). In this sense, the
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course ENG 2020 taught by Professor Kornweibel during the Fall '07 term at East Tennessee State University.

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Critical Analysis of One Art - In Elizabeth Bishop's "One...

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