Elizabeth Bishop Criticism

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American poet and short story-writer, Elizabeth Bishop was known for her highly accurate point of view and detailed descriptions of the physical world that surrounded her. The poet used to focus on specific topics, ranging from the difficulty of finding meaning in life and the expression of her grievance. In 1946, Bishop published ‘North and South’, a collection of poems which introduce the major themes in Bishop’s poetry such as the human connection with the natural world, the description of geography and landscape.

Although ‘Argument’ is a poem which seems to be related with love and feelings, it also deals with the flowing time. As the days go by, it creates a large distance with the speaker’s beloved, and disorder in their relationship.
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What does the heart really want? That is the major question the reader should focus on.
The internal conflict is characterized by disorder: ‘The tumult in the heart //keeps asking questions’. The first stanza is symbolical of a personal relationship conducted by disturbance. Moreover, the use of enjambment or ‘run-on line’ for the second line gives a feeling of disruption for the reader by breaking the line. It adds rhythm and immediacy. Moreover, the heart, centre for emotions, is personified. This rhetorical device gives the heart human values and attributes and creates liveliness to the poem’s atmosphere. Elizabeth Bishop had a style which was unique, added with a combination of vivid imagery and intense language. She creates images, representations. How can we illustrate the mystical and the unsaying?
First, the kind of ‘argument’ that the poet depicts is the fight against time and distance. With the use of personification, ‘Days’ and ‘Distance’ appear as characters. In the third stanza, the two lines ‘Days: And think// of all those cluttered instruments’ gives the reader the impression that the speaker addresses the noun

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