Man Moth Poem Analysis

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Elizabeth Bishop is an American poet and short story writer from the 1900s. During her lifetime she became a well respected woman who intertwined her poems with ambiguous meanings that have drawn the attention of many critics for interpretation. . Her extraordinary ability to reflect common topics in her poem creates a thought provoking atmosphere which enables her to convey lucid, complex ideas through her poetry. Bishop’s ability captures the fascination of many critics, thus leading to an in depth analyzation of her works even in modern day.The detailed writing of the “Man-Moth” reflects the way in which Bishop ties ideas together to form a poem that can be perceived into different themes. Moreover, in Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “Man-Moth”,…show more content…
In the poem, Bishop states that the moon looks rather different to him (11). Analyzing this statement further, one is able to see that to an ordinary person the moon is just a large rock in the sky, however to the Man-Moth it is more than this. Psychologist say that one’s hopes and dreams are specially made for them sent by their own subconscious (Drake 144). Each individual’s dreams may seem meaningless to the next person because it was not made for them, however, when one is in constant pursuit they block the faces and attitudes of disapprovement coming from others. When the Man-Moth begins to return home it went on a train, carried through “artificial tunnels and dreams recurrent dreams” (Bishop 34). Perhaps what haunts not only the Man-Moth but, humankind the most is having to live in ones unreachable dream over and over again. Later stated in the poem Bishop writes how the Man-Moth does not dare to look out the window at a third rail filled with poison (36-38). Bishop does not mean literal poison; the poison represents doubt that arises after failing at reaching your dream for a long time. Though the Man Moth is not oblivious to this fact, he prefers not to acknowledge it in order to shield his precious hopes from the imminent risks and high stakes of failure. This also relates to why he sits himself facing the wrong way on the train that is moving at a…show more content…
Bishop writes,“Here above, cracks in the buildings are filled with battered moonlight” (1-2). Throughout the poem, above ground and below ground are interpreted as different levels of the conscious mind. The above ground contains urban life at its liveliest, but Bishop also conveys the darkness that lurks within that life. The creature’s occasional visits to the above ground result in the Man-Moth showing signs of emotions; the feeling of the saturated urban lifestyle seeps into the Man-Moth. The cracks on the building convey light,or emotions, escaping into the conscious mind when the Man-Moth is above ground. However, as one reaches the end of the poem the original darkness displayed in the city can be recognized in the eye of the Man-Moth; “...hold a flashlight up to his eye/It’s all dark pupil/an entire night itself…” (Bishop 41-43). Bishops ambiguous words leave an awning perception on how reality has been compacted into the creature’s own pupil once it has failed to reach it’s dreams. In response to this the Man-Moth releases his only possession; a single tear. This tear symbolizes the Man-Moth’s innocence, life, and aspirations (Unterecker). However, it is also illustrated as a ray of hope. Bishop writes,“Then from the lids, one tear, his only possession life the bee’s sting, slips/Slyly he palms it, and if you’re not paying attention /he’ll swallow it,” (Bishop 44-46). This
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