Your intro could include… a clever use of author’s biography

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Your INTRO could include…

  • a clever use of author’s biography.

  • the use of a binding metaphor

Your CONCLUSION could include…

  • a tie back to your hook

  • your thesis further analyzed


In a 1953 letter to Loren MacIver, Elizabeth Bishop describes the “pale blue butterflies” that fly “semi-transparent” in “clusters of four or five” through the jungle (255). The quaresmas trees – or “Lent” trees that bloom during that time of year – "are purple all over the mountains, mixed with pink and yellow acacias, and with those butterflies flopping slowly in front of one’s eyes, it is quite a sight” (255). This “sight” is later described by Bishop in a 1955 letter to Pulitzer Prize winner James Merrill. Here Bishop describes the same “Rousseau jungle” with butterflies “flopping about – Combined with the ‘Quaresma,’ or Lent, trees, a mournful purple, the color scheme is wonderful.” She ends the descriptive paragraph with this sentence: “But scenery aside, I like living here very much and have a very nice place to live and nice friends” (303). While selecting these two specific passages inside a fifty-year span of correspondence might seem narrow-minded, these passages do speak to a broad pattern of the poet’s relationship and perception of Nature. Nature, whether along a Brazilian coastline or in an inland jungle, seems to play the role of “scenery.” And while Nature may pulse with irrepressible, active energy that frames moments of revelatory beauty, Bishop is ever mindful of the barrier between herself and Nature. In her poem, “The Moose,” Bishop derives from the Romantic tradition a modernist image of Nature. And this perception of Nature cannot exist without its very human barrier.

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