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One Art by Elizabeth Bishop: How The Author Uses Perspectives and Syntax

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Loosing anything is seemingly disastrous. Modern poet Elizabeth Bishop uses syntax and perspectivism in “One Art” to portray an accepting and discontented tone towards loss to convey that there are some feelings of deprivation that are just unconquerable.

Throughout the whole poem, Bishop utilizes and a and b rhyme scheme except in her fourth and sixth stanza. Both of these pattern breaking stanzas have personal instances and thoughts. This strategy helps Bishop create her false sense of acceptance between lines 1-15. She assures the audience that everything will be fine if we “accept the fluster” as this will vanquish our feelings of loss. Unfortunately, in her fourth stanza she is reluctantly making a negative shift in her tone. With a simple “And look!” readers are able to notice the listed experiences becoming more personal for Bishop. However, her honest stance does not become completely apparent until the sixth stanza where Bishop vacillates into her true feelings. From lines 16-19 not only is there a entirely different rhyme scheme, but it is a quatrain unlike the preceding tercets. This effect makes this stanza conspicuous and is practically telling us that this is the truth and that this disgruntlement is her true emotion towards this subject. Bishop reveals that she “shan’t have lied” not only to the reader but to herself as well. She does still try to continue her charade by forcing herself to “Write it!” Which inevitably reveals her own inability to cope with loss. She eventually alters her diction as well to correspond with her honest attitude by saying “The art of losing isn’t too hard to master” instead of the consistent “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” Bishop reveals that despite what she stated earlier this action is in fact not “too hard”, but nonetheless extremely difficult to accomplish.

Bishop takes advantage of the perspectivism in the poem to, in a way, demand the readers to abide the loss. She urges her audience to “Lose something everyday” in order to convince us that a loss isn’t the worst misfortune that could happen. However this command is overly optimistic and full of false hopes. What sane person would lose something repeatedly and deliberately just to overcome that negative feeling? Her misguidance hints at a misleading attitude of acceptance. As Bishop shifts from a second to first perspective, her losses consistently become larger and less general. She’s wavering about her original opinion as she is actually writing these events, because, gradually, she realizes that she hasn’t overcame her losses herself. When Bishop jots down her, probably most catastrophic, loss “losing you”, she almost ultimately breaks down from her argument and forces herself to finish this poem of untrue feelings.

No matter how one may phrases it, loss is a terrible tragedy. Even though that was not her original intention, Bishop concluded with this theme. Nothing is as easy as it seems.

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One Art By Elizabeth Bishop: How The Author Uses Perspectives And Syntax. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from
“One Art By Elizabeth Bishop: How The Author Uses Perspectives And Syntax.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
One Art By Elizabeth Bishop: How The Author Uses Perspectives And Syntax. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Oct. 2021].
One Art By Elizabeth Bishop: How The Author Uses Perspectives And Syntax [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Mar 12 [cited 2021 Oct 28]. Available from:
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