Presentation on theme: "“In the Waiting Room” by Elizabeth Bishop Mason Fredericks Mary Tubbs Scott Youll."— Presentation transcript:
“In the Waiting Room” by Elizabeth Bishop Mason Fredericks Mary Tubbs Scott Youll
Paraphrase A little girl reflects on life while waiting in her dentist’s office. She compares herself to the others around her including her aunt. Time Period Modernism Style Metaphysical/Existential, Free Verse Setting Dentist’s office in Worcester, Massachusetts February 5, 1918
Lines 1-10 In Worcester, Massachusetts, I went with Aunt Consuelo to keep her dentist's appointment and sat and waited for her in the dentist's waiting room. It was winter. It got dark early. The waiting room was full of grown-up people arctics and overcoats, lamps and magazines. Suggests that she is young Setting- time of year Starts off with a wide view, then begins with specific items in the waiting room. Black outline= setting
Lines 11-25 My aunt was inside what seems like a long time and while I waited I read the National Geographic (I could read) and carefully studied the photographs: the inside of a volcano, black, and full of ashes; then it was spilling over in rivulets of fire. Osa and Martin Johnson dressed in riding breeches, laced boots, and pith helmets. A dead man slung on a pole —"Long Pig," the caption said. She is getting restless or bored Further implies that she is young; even though the remarks that she can read, she chooses to pay close attention to the pictures. She begins to list what she sees in the pictures. Yellow outline= allusion
Lines 26-37 Babies with pointed heads wound round and round with string; black, naked women with necks wound round and round with wire like the necks of light bulbs. Their breasts were horrifying. I read it straight through. I was too shy to stop. And then I looked at the cover: the yellow margins, the date. Suddenly, from inside came an oh! of pain Red outline= simile She continues to describe the pictures she sees as she peruses the magazine. The repetition explains her curiosity over the pictures The magazine is bad for her, but she cannot stop looking at the pictures. To convince herself the pictures are not of real-life situations, she looks at the front of the magazine. This ends with a shift from her visual world (looking at the pictures) to an event actually happening in her life.
Lines 38-44 —Aunt Consuelo's voice— not very loud or long. I wasn't at all surprised; even then I knew she was a foolish, timid woman. I might have been embarrassed, but wasn't. Elizabeth does not think very highly of her Aunt Consuelo, however, she does not feel embarrassed by her actions because she sees a strong distinction between the two of them. Alliteration The speaker is very degrading of her aunt while most young children look up to their elders and respect them.
Lines 45-53 What took me completely by surprise was that it was me: my voice, in my mouth. Without thinking at all, I was my foolish aunt, I—we—were falling, falling our eyes glued to the cover of the National Geographic, February, 1918. Contrast: Elizabeth goes from resenting her aunt and claiming independence to believing she is one wither Aunt Consuelo. The February 1918 edition of National Geographic does not match up with Bishop’s description. Metaphor Bishop refers to herself and her aunt as one.
Lines 54-63 I said to myself: three days and you'll be seven years old. I was saying it to stop the sensation of falling off the round, turning world into cold, blue-black space. But I felt: you are an I you are an Elizabeth you are one of them. Why should you be one, too? Elizabeth refers to herself as “I”, or an independent individual. Repetition Rhetorical Question The speaker is remembering this experience from when she was only six years old (very mature kid). Imagery
Lines 64-74 I scarcely dared to look to see what it was I was. I gave a sidelong glance —I couldn't look any higher— at shadowy gray knees, trousers and skirts and boots and different pairs of hands lying under the lamps. I knew that nothing stranger had ever happened, that nothing stranger could ever happen. * Bishop realizes that she may be an individual, but she is also a part of a human race. Elizabeth only describes certain features- not a whole person. Repetition Nothing out of the ordinary has actually happened, but Elizabeth has come to an epiphany about life.
Lines 75-89 Why should I be my aunt, or me, or anyone? What similarities— boots, hands, the family voice I felt in my throat, or even the National Geographic and those awful hanging breasts— held us all together or made us all just one? How—I didn't know any word for it—how "unlikely"… How had I come to be here, like them, and overhear a cry of pain that could have got loud and worse but hadn't? Shifts to questions Allusion Personification Comparing herself to the others Elizabeth begins to question life and purpose. (existential) Speaker inserts her own voice to show that she didn’t know the word “unlikely” and couldn’t describe the experience at the time
Lines 90-93 The waiting room was bright and too hot. It was sliding beneath a big black wave, another, and another. Personification Alliteration Imagery Elizabeth returns to reality and is overwhelmed by her surroundings and lets her imagination take over. The waves could be a metaphor for scary and dark things in Elizabeth’s life.
Lines 94-99 Then I was back in it. The War was on. Outside, in Worcester, Massachusetts, were night and slush and cold, and it was still the fifth of February, 1918. Setting Shifts back Imagery Elizabeth snaps out of her imagination and remembers where she was and what day it was. “The War” is a reference to World War I. And this reference could mean several things. It could be the reason Elizabeth is afraid of the world and her differences with others, or the war could symbolize how horrible the world has become – we kill each other over our differences.
Theme Identity Elizabeth questions her reasons for existence, who she really is and relation to other people. Tone Calm and bored curiosity a panicked confusion Purpose To reflect on a past experience of existentialism
“How does the author reinforce meaning through her use of figurative language, tone, structure, and other literary features?” Thesis In Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “In the Waiting room,” Bishop evokes a sense of identity by reanimating a past experience through figurative imagery and allusions. Topic Sentence 1 Bishop utilizes rare figurative images that stand out much more clearly to create a much stronger contrast in the poem. Topic Sentence 2 The poet alludes to familiar events and objects to further reveal Elizabeth’s sense of identity.
Works Cited Bishop, Elizabeth A. "In The Waiting Room." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, 1983. Web. 20 Jan. 2015. Edelman, Lee. "On "In the Waiting Room"" On "In the Waiting Room"N.p., 1985. Web. 20 Jan. 2015. Gutman, Huck. "Bishop." Bishop. University of Vermont, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.
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