The Complete Poems, 1927-1979 Test | Final 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. What literary device does "12 O'Clock News" employ?

2. What does the first part of Three Valentines depict?

3. What does "Brazilian Tragedy" depict?

4. What are two poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade?

5. In "Banks," to what does the poet compare his complaining?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the double meaning of the phrase "family travelling through the flesh" in Drummond de Andrade's "Family Portrait"?

2. What do the various animals symbolize in "A Word with You"?

3. What are two meanings of the title "The Waiting Room"?

4. What does "12 O'Clock News" reveal about the way Bishop views familiar objects?

5. How is the character in "The Giant Snail" an exaggerated human figure?

6. How is the character in "The Strayed Crab" an exaggerated human figure?

7. Why is Bandeira so concerned about the specifics of his last poem in "My Last Poem"?

8. What is the moral Bishop puts forth in "Thank-You Note"?

9. Why do you think Bishop chooses animals to symbolize the players in "The Hanging of the Mouse"?

10. What is the meaning of the simple, repeated incident in Drummond de Andrade's "In the Middle of the Road"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What do you think is meant by the heading "Occasional Poems"? What does the word "occasional" connote in this context? How are the poems in this section alike and different? Are there any that you feel don't belong in this collection? Why or why not? How would your understanding of Bishop as a writer differ if these poems had been omitted?

Essay Topic 2

"In the Waiting Room" is unique among Bishop's poems in that it details a critical moment in the poet's childhood. Discuss the specific details of the experience and describe what this moment means for the young Bishop. Can you relate it to any themes from the poet's adulthood that are revealed in any of her other poems? Do you see this poem as more personal, or more universal, and why?

Essay Topic 3

Bishop's writing was not immune to the politics of the day. "The Hanging of the Mouse" and "Lullaby for the Cat" deal to some extent with the political times in which they were written. Discuss Bishop's unique approach to politics and its effectiveness. How can the reader tell that these are political poems? How does Bishop try to mask this fact? What is her ultimate goal in writing these poems--are they merely art, or an attempt to effect political change?

(see the answer keys)

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