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 do the Brothers of the Souls know about the pauper in 'From "The Life and Death of a Severino"'?

2. Where is the poet located as she composes "The Moose"?

3. Who is the author of the Four Sambas?

4. How does Bishop look at life in the poems in Uncollected Work and Geography III?

5. How does the character distinguish himself from others with the same name?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did Bishop write "The Mountain" in the first person?

2. From what perspective is the story of "The Hanging of the Mouse" told?

3. Do you think "Lullaby for the Cat" is simply an innocent rhyme, or do you think it has a deeper meaning?

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

5. How does Max Jacobs' "Hell Is Graduated" change in the course of the poem?

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

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

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

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

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

"Letter to N.Y." and "Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore" are both letters to friends of the poet in poetic form. How do these poems differ from the others in the collection? Consider the reader's knowledge about the speaker, the level of intimacy, and in what person the poems are composed. What is the overall effect of these differences on the reader? Do you think it is appropriate for these letters to be considered poetry in the same league with the rest of the collection? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

What is Bishop's attitude toward the characters in "Exchanging Hats"? Is it objective or judgmental? Support your claim with specific quotations from the poem. Does her attitude seem out of character for Bishop, considering the sense of humor she displays in other poems? Do you think her attitude has to do with the fact that the trend she witnesses is started by an "unfunny uncle"? Might she view things differently if the trend had been started by someone she admired?

Essay Topic 3

Why do you think Bishop chose to translate the poems of other writers from a variety of places? How does this relate to what you've learned about Bishop as a writer and as a person from reading her own work? Were you surprised by any of the choices she made in terms of poets, poems, languages, or the specific choices she made in translating each poem? Do you think it is appropriate to include translations in a collection of Bishop's poems? In what ways are these poems her work, and in what ways are they the work of the original poet? How would your experience of the book have been different if the translations had been omitted?

(see the answer keys)

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