Elizabeth Bishop Essay examples

1687 Words May 8th, 2014 7 Pages
Nature versus Human: Analysis of Bishop’s “Seascape”

Barbora Kolísková


6 December 2013

Jennifer Yaros claims that one of the ways that Bishop portrays the status and emotions of an outsider is by using nature and not only this but also with picturing humans as an interfering feature in nature. In “Seascape” Bishop uses religious allusions to make the distinction between the world of the nature and men more clear. The portrait of human as an unnatural part of the landscape reflects Bishop’s childhood and consequential feeling of homeless. The feeling of homeless is rooted in her miserable childhood: her father died before she was a year old and her mother couldn’t cope with and became insane. She had to be hospitalized in
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Moving through to the “mangrove roots” and to the water where a “fish jumps”, the last two lines of this part create a pseudo-religious mood because the whole landscape is compared to the “cartoon by Raphael for a tapestry for a Pope” and the religious tone is affirmed by the statement “it does look like heaven”.
In contrast to the previous part, here suddenly arises a “skeletal lighthouse” which is obviously an artificial structure and which has nothing to do with the celestial view. Bonnie Costello calls this tone change “a muted climax of the fear”. The poem continues: But a skeletal lighthouse standing there in a black and white clerical dress, who lives on his nerves, thinks he knows better. [...] Heaven is not like flying or swimming, but has something to do with blackness and strong glare [...]
Concerning the structure of this part it is obvious that it consists of more than one sentence. The usage of full stops causes the tendency to slow down. The movement from white to dark and from heaven to hell indicates the change of mood and causes the feeling of fear in otherwise harmless nature. “Skeletal lighthouse” doesn’t belong to the celestial landscape and it is the only artificial unnatural creation mentioned in Bishop’s poem. It seems that the lighthouse doesn’t conform to the narrator’s opinion on

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