The Complete Poems, 1927-1979 Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why is the auntie surprised by the burglar's actions in "The Burglar of Babylon"?

2. What quality do the poems in North and South share?

3. What is described in "Love Lies Sleeping"?

4. How is the house in "Jeronimo's House" decorated?

5. What do several of the poems in North and South pay homage?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Bishop use the structure of building each line upon the last in "Visits to St. Elizabeth's"?

2. How are the poems in North and South devoted to morning different?

3. Why does Bishop chose the word "flying" in "Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore"?

4. How do the poet's descriptions in "Arrival at Santos" reflect her dual state of mind?

5. In what form is "The Burglar of Babylon" written? Why does the poet use this form?

6. What does the final stanza of "Insomnia" depict?

7. What is the significance of the title of "The Prodigal"?

8. Does Bishop see the ocean as ever-changing or never changing in the poems in Cold Spring?

9. What is the meaning of the lines "I'm afraid if it's wheat it's none of your sowing" in "Letter to N.Y."?

10. What is Bishop comparing in "Large Bad Picture" when she refers to "commerce or contemplation"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Bishop shows a special fondness for water in her poetry. Does it have one symbolic meaning, or many? What are the allegorical and metaphorical connections she draws relating to water? Cite a variety of different poems to support your claim. For example, in "Pleasure Seas," how does she view natural bodies of water as opposed to man-made swimming pools?

Essay Topic 2

Choose three poems that employ metaphor and/or simile, and discuss Bishop's use of these poetic devices. How does she employ them? How do they contribute to each poem's effectiveness? How would the poems be different if these had been omitted? Compare and contrast the ways metaphor and/or simile are applied in the three poems.

Essay Topic 3

Love is a theme that is explored in several of Bishop's poems. Citing specific texts, analyze the place of love in Bishop's writings. What does she say about love? Does her perspective change or remain the same over time? Do you think these poems are more autobiographical or more universal in nature, and why?

(see the answer keys)

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