One Art by Elizabeth Bishop Summary

One Art by Elizabeth Summary


Plain and straightforward but ironic poem “One Art” is related with philosophy as well as religion. The poetess “Elizabeth Bishop “teaches us the great value of resignation and


contentment. She is of the view that the true art of losing helps us in developing a spirit of acceptance and resignation. The art of losing , in fact, means to live life, hoping for the best, and to be ready to face and accept the worst.


The poetess says that it is not difficult to have a mastery over the art of losing something because many things have their existence only to be lost and their loss has no serious consequences. She advises to face difficulties and fluster of losing minor things like door keys and to bear our sufferings with patience. She asks to lose something daily to be perfect in this art.


We can learn this great art by practice. Practice of forgetting the names of people and places may help one to learn this art without any harm. She gives her own example that she has lost her mother‟s watch, three houses, some property and even her homeland but it is not a disaster.

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She says that she can even lose someone very dear to her and can prove that this art is very easy to master.


In Fact, the poetess advocates that to live in this world successfully, one must have patience and courage to bear losses. The people who are always eager to make great achievements should also be ready to make sacrifices. Nothing can be achieved easily. The actual reality demands that one has to suffer loss before gaining something. So, a person who is determined to achieve great success should not give up struggle to avoid losses.


The poem can be discussed as a satire. Everyone must lose something. Some one loses time and friends lose property and kingdom. We also lose such things but we have no enough courage to confess it. There is also irony in this poem that to resign to fate is very difficult art but one has to learn it to lead a contented life. It combines the elements of satire, humour and irony.

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The tragedy of death which is inevitable is not referred. the subject is discussed in a mocking and non serious way but the poetess is successful in conveying the message.


Proper stanza form with an additional line, repetition of master and disaster, concrete images of common life and mocking yet didactic style have made this poem a masterpiece of its own kind.

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