Focus on what works and what may need improvement in the explication. Focus on the student's assertion, support, organization, style, etc. I included the poem first, then the paper. You will need to read the poem to understand the paper. This is a paper from a student in period 2.
Your response should be a full paragraph in length (8 to 10 sentences). This is due by March 7th.
by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
Poem Explication: One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
In the poem One Art by Elizabeth Bishop, the speaker shows the audience that losing things is infinitesimal compared to losing the one she loves. She reveals herself through repetition and metaphor, but it is mostly her diction that tells her feelings
In the first line she says “The art of losing isn’t hard to master”. The line sets up the mood that losing things is easy. Though by repeating it in lines 6 and 12, she puts emphasis on the words and seems to want that line to be the truth. In the last repetition of the first line, she adds the word “too”. This means that it is hard to master, to some extent, though the end result “may look like…disaster (line 19)” She further backs it up her original statement by saying that their intent is “to be lost” (line 3), saying that things are meant to be lost, no matter what happens. She instructs the audience to “lose” and “accept” (line 4), which suggests that she has gone through loss before and it would be better to accept losing things since it would not hurt as much. She then instructs the audience to “practice” (line 7) losing, so her heart will not be crushed when the audience is accustomed to losing. By line 6, the speaker gets frantic. Her words become careless and the words take a sort of rhythm. She says “losing farther, losing faster”. Both phrases start with the word losing and start with the letter f. She then loses “places, and names, and where it was [she] meant / to travel” (lines 8-9). She lost more important things, but they were bearable. At this point, she is still talking to her original audience. When she says “And look! My last, or / next-to-last” (line 10), the exclamation point indicates a careless abandon. The fact that she can’t point out any details of the item she lost shows she doesn’t care about it and it doesn’t matter. She starts using the first person, saying that the items she lost were hers. She starts out losing small things like “lost door keys, the hour badly spent”. Then she lost her “mother’s watch” and then “three loved houses”, but still she was able to bear with it. She lost “two cities”, “some realms [she] owned, two rivers, a continent” (line 13-14) but it didn’t matter to her. The things she lost were worth nothing to her and were easily disposable. But there is one thing that she can’t just throw away.
The only time she admits that she misses any of her items is when she mentions her pairs of items, two cites, two rivers, and the item that hold them together, the continent. This is a metaphor to show that she misses the unity between herself and her lover. But she can’t have it anymore because she lost both pairs of items, symbolizing she also lost the relationship. The shift of the poem occurs in the last stanza of the poem. She admits she “shan’t have lied” when saying losing things is easy because she found the one thing that hurts to lose: “you”. Her audience changes to her lover. She still loves him; she uses the present tense word “love”. She hasn’t gotten over it. Looking back, she seems to be losing things to cope with the loss she has suffered. She thought if she lost some things, she might get used to the feeling of loss and accept his loss. But it didn’t happen that way. She still loves that man no matter what.
The speaker of the poem loss of the one she loves could not possibly compare to any other loss. She has a hard time getting the words out at the last line, prompting her to include the words “Write it!” just to get that last word out. She doesn’t want it to be true, but because of the nature of the poem, (it’s a villanelle) she has to say it. She says that losing a loved one is the hardest type of losing there is.